Redemptive Dreams: Engaging Kevin Starr’s California Past, Present, and Future

With Russell Jeung, Peter Richardson, Jason Sexton, Julia Flynn Siler

When historian and California state librarian Kevin Starr passed away in 2017, he left behind a legacy of historiography and storytelling that was unrivaled, including his mammoth California Dream series. Former Governor Jerry Brown said that Starr “chronicled the history of California as no one else. He captured the spirit of our state and brought to life the characters and personalities that made the California story. His vision, like California itself, was bigger than life.”

Now a group of academics is taking a new look at Starr and his works, including the largely unexplored role of his Catholic faith on how he interpreted California and its history, as well as reinterpreting his works in light of new trends in academia. Jason Sexton, the editor and Russell Jeung and Peter Richardson, two contributors to the new book Redemptive Dreams: Engaging Kevin Starr’s California will take Club audiences through some of the challenges involved in interpreting Starr’s work and his impact on our understanding of California’s past, present and future, and what they mean for Starr’s view of the California dream.