In the first of these two books Philip Scott Rush has given us a brief survey and a popularized version of California’s history from the time of its discovery to 1964. While the presentation lacks all documentation, the author claims that every item is carefully authenticated.

Rush insists on speaking of three Californias: Northern California and Southern California (together constituting Upper California or the state of California) and the peninsula of Lower California. The story of the development and growth of the state of California from the early mission days to the creation of the large landed estates, the gold rush, the discovery of oil, and the development of the automobile is not only fascinating but phenomenal.

The tables, listing the missions (pp. 57-58), the Spanish governors (p. 62), the Mexican governors (p. 92), and the American governors (pp. 250, 252-253), are indeed welcome and useful. The many illustrations are good and informative. It is always disturbing, however, to find an author inconsistent with himself in quoting conflicting dates for the same event: e.g., the bombing of Hiroshima (August 6, 1944, and August 6, 1945; pp. 214 and 222 respectively). Another instance is the first permanent Russian settlement at Kodiak, Alaska (1784 and 1783; pp. 244 and 256 respectively). There are other minor blemishes of the same sort.

The second book is also quite interesting; actually it is local history restricted to the southernmost counties of California, detailing the size of the original land grants, the successive owners, and the final disposition and use of these vast estates. The author claims there were more than 800 such grants of land, but this book describes fewer than one tenth of them.

The reviewer regrets to report that both books are marred by innumerable misspellings. Sometimes two forms of the same name or word appear on the same page or line. But again, the author must be given credit for the many hours he must have spent in the offices of the county recorders, poring over the numerous property deeds. In both books he has compressed much information into a small space, although the careful reader will want to check it against sources wherever possible.