The Journal of San Diego History
Spring 1976, Volume 22, Number 2
James E. Moss, Editor


David J. Weber, Book Review Editor

Aficionados of early California history will welcome the reprinting of Adele Ogden’s study, The California Sea Otter Trade, 1784-1848, first published in 1941 and now difficult to obtain at any price. The University of California Press, the original publisher, has reissued this title in its cloth-bound California Library Reprint Series. This facsimile edition contains no new introduction, but it does not need one. Ogden’s work still stands on its considerable merits and, indeed, has become a classic of California historiography. Most of the interaction between foreign otter hunters and the Spanish and Mexican Governments occurred in Northern California, but Southern California and Baja California were also scenes of the action.

Other reprints that have crossed my desk in recent months include Mission to Paradise: The Story of Junípero Serra and the Missions of California, by Kenneth M. King, first published in London in 1956 and reissued in 1975 (Chicago: Franciscan Herald Press, softbound, 190 pages, $4.95) in a “Bicentennial Edition.” Writing for a popular audience, King provided a sound but highly laudatory interpretation of the life of Serra.

Peregrine Smith Press of Santa Barbara has reissued Jack London’s Valley of the Moon (1913) in a two volume softbound edition ($4.95). This romantic, autobiographic, and “proletarian” novel has Northern California as its setting. Peregrine has also reissued a collection of short stories by Gerald Haslam entitled Okies (softbound, 109 pages, $4.95). Okies first appeared in 1973 in a limited edition and richly deserves a wider audience for these stories are well-told, imaginative, delightful, and often moving. The scene is California’s Central Valley and the author is a product of the “Okie” subculture.

Lane Publishing Company has produced a number of attractive Sunset Pictorial volumes on subjects as diverse as Ghost Towns of the West, California Wine, and Beautiful Hawaii. The latest addition to this series is Discovering the California Coast (1975, 288 pages, $14.95), which shows the armchair traveler highlights of a journey along the 1,100 mile-long coastline from the Oregon border to San Diego. A lavish collection of photographs, maps, and diagrams held together by a minimum amount of text, The California Coast provides a brief introduction to the geography, history, geology, marine life, and ecology of the coast. Newcomers to California will find it especially worth consulting; more experienced coastal dwellers may find it too thin.

Lane also publishes the popular and heavily illustrated Sunset Travel Guides to California, which provide detailed maps and information. The Sunset Travel Guide to Southern California ($2.95, 160 pages) was updated in 1974, and the Guide to Northern California ($2.95, 160 pages) was revised and expanded in the fall of 1975.

Editor Norris Hundley and Clio Press of Santa Barbara have brought together in a volume entitled The Chicano (softbound, 168 pages), nine essays which previously appeared in the Pacific Historical Review. This collection includes an interesting debate on Chicano historiography between Arthur Corwin and Rodolfo Acuña, and one article pertaining specifically to Southern California: “Stimulus to Repatriation: The 1931 Federal Deportation Drive and the Los Angeles Mexican Community,” by Abraham Hoffman. Hoffman has since published a book on the repatriation question which was reviewed in this Journal in the Summer, 1974 issue.

At a time when most university presses are cutting back on production and others have collapsed, Texas A&M University has started a new press with an impressive list of titles. Among its offerings are Storms Brewed in Other Men’s Worlds: The Confrontation of Indians, Spanish, and French in the Southwest, 1540-1795 by Elizabeth A. H. John (1975, hardbound, 805 pages, $18.50), and The Southwest: South or West? by Frank E. Vandiver (1975, hardbound, 48 pages, $4.00). Although there is no point more southwesterly in the United States than San Diego, neither author includes San Diego in their definitions of the Southwest. Vandiver defines the Southwest as extending to the Sierras, but his brief narrative seldom ventures out of Texas. For Mrs. John, the Southwest is principally New Mexico and Texas. Mrs. John attempts to utilize European sources to illuminate Indian history. Her massive book, based upon archival and published sources, is designed as a synthesis for the general reader, but scholars, too, will find it a useful compendium. Indeed, because of its size and cost it may be scholars alone who care to tackle it. If her book is large, so too is the sweep of time and place that her narrative embraces.