This look at Coast of Dreams: California on the Edge, 1990-2003 is by Cathy Seipp in today's Wall Street Journal (online here for subscribers):
Kevin Starr's latest California chronicle, covering the years 1990 to 2003 and completing his multivolume history of the state, is a not-so-wayback machine that chugs along efficiently, like a tram carrying passengers past their favorite attractions...
As a fourth-generation Californian, Mr. Starr is paradoxically an outsider to the essential California-here-I-come experience, which has always been one of starting over -- from Gold Rush prospector to movie star to software geek. Perhaps that's why he is more of a bemused chronicler than a compelling storyteller, which is OK: "Coast of Dreams" may not be a page turner, but it is a useful chronicle and a handy reference guide for settling bar bets about the nuttier aspects of California life.
She amplifies on her blog. The Benjamin Schwarz review in last Sunday's LAT Book Review is now linked (also for subscribers only); I left it out before. * And: Nick Turner sends a note that David Kipen's review in the Sept. 14 San Francisco Chronicle is "the best of the bunch."
Last edited 12:05 p.m.