Higher Education

Competing Visions: A History of California, 2nd Edition

  • Robert W. Cherny San Francisco State University
  • Gretchen Lemke-Santangelo St. Mary's College
  • Richard Griswold del Castillo San Diego State University
  • ISBN-10: 1133943624  |  ISBN-13: 9781133943624
  • 528 Pages
  • Previous Editions: 2005
  • © 2014 | Published
  • College Bookstore Wholesale Price = $119.75
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A strong social emphasis and succinct narrative remain the hallmarks of the popular COMPETING VISIONS: A HISTORY OF CALIFORNIA, 2E. Chronicling the stories of people who have had an impact on the state's history, the text presents California as a hub of competing economic, social, and political visions. It highlights the state's cultural diversity and explicitly compares it to other Western states, the nation, and the world--illustrating the national and international significance of California's history. Its student-friendly chronological organization and thematic approach enables readers to keep track of events and fully understand their significance. Telling the full story, the text concludes by discussing such current events as immigration and demographic changes, the Occupy Movement, energy challenges, and more. A concise account in 13 chapters renders COMPETING VISIONS suitable for both the semester and quarter-length course.

Features and Benefits

  • Emphasizing the national and international significance of California's history, three major themes--California's relationship to its surrounding region and the world, cultural richness and diversity, and competing visions of the "California Dream"--run throughout the 13 chapters, highlighting continuity over time and providing a unifying thread for the narrative.
  • A list of topics, timelines, and Questions to Consider at the beginning of each chapter provide a framework for readers to process the events in the narrative.
  • Suggested Readings at the end of each chapter list publications where students can go for additional information and to conduct research.

Table of Contents

1. California's Origins: The Land and the People, Before Spanish Settlement.
2. The Spanish Colonization of California, 1769–1821.
3. Mexican Californios: Conflict and Culture, 1821–1846.
4. War, Conquest, and Gold: The American Era Begins, 1845–1855.
5. California and the Crisis of the Union, 1850–1870.
6. California in the Gilded Age, 1870–1900.
7. California in the Progressive Era, 1895–1920.
8. California Between the Wars, 1919–1941.
9. World War II and the Great Transformation.
10. Postwar California: Prosperity and Discontent in the Golden State: 1946-1963.
11. Divided We Stand: Activism and Politics, 1964–1970.
12. Era of Limits and New Opportunities: 1970-1990.
13. California In Our Times.

What's New

  • Offering the most current coverage available, Chapter 13, the final chapter of the text, now discusses current events in California to the present day, including the Oakland Mehserle case and its aftermath, immigration and demographic changes, the 2008 economic crisis, the Occupy Movement, ecological and energy challenges, the return of Jerry Brown to the governorship, and more.
  • New chapter-opening vignettes spotlight captivating people in California's history, including Mary and Joseph Tape, a Chinese-American immigrant couple; Katherine Philips Edson, a groundbreaking state politician; Catherine "Kay" Spaulding, an environmental activist; and Jacqueline Nguyen, a South Vietnamese immigrant who became the first Asian American to serve as a federal appellate judge.

Efficacy and Outcomes


"It is probably the most readable text in California history on the market at the moment."

— Paivi Hoikkala, California State Polytechnic University, Pomona

"I love the themes of this book. California simply can't be discussed in isolation, which is why I appreciate the globalized theme."

— Jon Kelly, West Valley College

Meet the Author

Author Bio

Robert W. Cherny

Robert W. Cherny received his BA from the University of Nebraska and his MA and PhD from Columbia University. He is professor of history at San Francisco State University. His books include COMPETING VISIONS: A HISTORY OF CALIFORNIA (with Richard Griswold del Castillo, 2005); AMERICAN POLITICS IN THE GILDED AGE, 1868-1900 (1997); SAN FRANCISCO, 1865-1932: POLITICS, POWER, AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT (with William Issel, 1986); A RIGHTEOUS CAUSE: THE LIFE OF WILLIAM JENNINGS BRYAN (1985, 1994); and POPULISM, PROGRESSIVISM, AND THE TRANSFORMATION OF NEBRASKA POLITICS, 1885-1915 (1981). He is coeditor of AMERICAN LABOR AND THE COLD WAR: UNIONS, POLITICS, AND POSTWAR POLITICAL CULTURE (with William Issel and Keiran Taylor, 2004). His articles on politics and labor in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries have appeared in journals, anthologies, and historical dictionaries and encyclopedias. In 2000, he and Ellen Du Bois coedited a special issue of the “Pacific Historical Review” that surveyed women's suffrage movements in nine locations around the Pacific Rim. He has been an NEH Fellow, Distinguished Fulbright Lecturer at Lomonosov Moscow State University (Russia), and Visiting Research Scholar at the University of Melbourne (Australia). He has served as president of H-Net (an association of more than 100 electronic networks for scholars in the humanities and social sciences), the Society for Historians of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era, and the Southwest Labor Studies Association; as treasurer of the Organization of American Historians; and as a member of the council of the American Historical Association, Pacific Coast Branch.

Gretchen Lemke-Santangelo

Gretchen Lemke-Santangelo is a professor of history at St. Mary's College and the author of DAUGHTERS OF AQUARIUS: WOMEN OF THE SIXTIES COUNTER CULTURE (2009). Her research interests include black migration, feminist theory, race relations and ethnicity, and urban poverty. She received her Ph.D. from Duke University in 1993.

Richard Griswold del Castillo

Richard Griswold del Castillo is professor emeritus of Chicana and Chicano Studies at San Diego State University. His recent books include CESAR CHAVEZ: A TRIUMPH OF SPIRIT (1997), THE TREATY OF GUADALUPE HIDALGO: A LEGACY OF CONFLICT (1992), and NORTH TO AZTLAN: A HISTORY OF MEXICAN AMERICANS IN THE UNITED STATES (with Arnoldo De Leon, 2006).