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California Dynasty: The Browns and the State They Shaped

Wednesday, October 3, 2018 - 4:30pm to 6:00pm
Stanford University
Stanford Humanities Center
Levinthal Hall
424 Santa Teresa Street
Stanford, CA 94305

The author Miriam Pawel will talk about her book, “The Browns of California,” a profile of the Brown family that produced two California governors and helped shape the state over four generations. Joining Miriam Pawel in conversation will be the Stanford historian Richard White.

To hear more, listen to Pawel’s recent appearance on KQED radio’s “Forum” with Michael Krasny and at the Commonwealth Club of California on October 2.

From the publisher:

A Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist's panoramic history of California and its impact on the nation, from the Gold Rush to Silicon Valley—told through the lens of the family dynasty that led the state for nearly a quarter century.
Even in the land of reinvention, the story is exceptional: Pat Brown, the beloved father who presided over California during an era of unmatched expansion; Jerry Brown, the cerebral and iconoclastic son who became the youngest governor in modern times—and then returned three decades later as the oldest.

In The Browns of California, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and scholar Miriam Pawel weaves a narrative history that spans four generations, from August Schuckman, the Prussian immigrant who crossed the Plains in 1852 and settled on a northern California ranch, to his great-grandson Jerry Brown, who reclaimed the family homestead one hundred forty years later. Through the prism of their lives, we gain an essential understanding of California—an appreciation of the history and importance of the fifth largest economy in the world.

The magisterial story is enhanced by dozens of striking photos, many published for the first time, and drawn from extensive personal interviews with the Brown family. This book gives new insights to those steeped in California history, offers a corrective for those who confuse stereotypes and legend for fact, and opens new vistas for readers familiar with only the sketchiest outlines of a place habitually viewed from afar with a mix of envy and awe, disdain, and fascination.


About Miriam Pawel

Miriam Pawel is the author of The Crusades of Cesar Chavez: A Biography, a National Book Critics Circle Award finalist and winner of the California Book Award, and The Union of Their Dreams—Power, Hope and Struggle in Cesar Chavez’s Farm Worker Movement. She is a Pulitzer-Prize winning editor and reporter who spent twenty-five years at Newsday and the Los Angeles Times. She lives in Southern California.


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