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The Sun Never Sets: Reflections on a Western Life

Book
Stanford University Press
March 25, 2013
L.W. "Bill" Lane, Jr. with Bertrand M. Patenaude, Introduction by Kevin Starr

The Sun Never Sets tells the extraordinary story of L.W. "Bill" Lane, Jr., longtime publisher of Sunset magazine, pioneering environmentalist, and U.S. ambassador. Written with Stanford historian Bertrand Patenaude, this fascinating memoir traces Sunset's profound impact on a new generation of Americans seeking opportunity and adventure in the great American West.

Bill Lane was a Californian whose life spanned a vital period of the state's emergence as the embodiment (or symbol) of the country's aspirations. His recollections offer readers a rich slice of the history of California and the West in the 20th century. Recounting his boyhood move from Iowa to California after his father purchased Sunset magazine in 1928, and his subsequent rise through the ranks of Sunset, Bill Lane's memoir evokes the American West that his magazine helped to shape. It illuminates the sources of Sunset's canny appeal and its manifold influence in the four major editorial fields it covered—travel, home, gardening, and cooking—while taking readers behind the scenes of American magazine publishing in the 20th century.

The Sun Never Sets also reveals the evolution of Bill Lane's views and roles as an influential environmentalist and conservationist with strong connections to the national and California state parks, and it recounts his two stints as U.S. ambassador: in Japan in the 1970s, and in Australia in the 1980s. This memoir will especially appeal to readers interested in the history of the American West, environmental conservation and preservation, and publishing.