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Little Known Tales in California History by…
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Little Known Tales in California History

by Alton Pryor

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I'm a minor student of California history and looked forward to finding some interesting tales in this book. In his preface the author describes this book as 5 minute history lessons. There are 41 short chapters that cover a range of people, places and events early in California history. I knew about some of these, but just about all of them were at least mildly interesting. These were handy to read when one had a few minutes and didn't want to dive into a novel. Unfortunately, in fleshing out the stories I noted errors creeping in. The most egregious of these was a man catching a fever (and subsequently dying) during a trip through the Panama Canal in about 1863. (The Canal wasn't opened until 1914!) The stories also tend to be light on details and omit dates in places that I think would be helpful.

I read this over a couple of weeks. One of the stories I immediately recognized was about the real Indian girl behind the story of Scott O'Dell's "Island of the Blue Dolphins," although the author here didn't mention that. I think the value of a book like this is it can pique your interest to explore further on a particular topic.

My copy had significant typo and grammatical errors throughout the book, and a couple continuity errors, even though it was a fourth printing. ( )
  RBeffa | Feb 6, 2016 |
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