Inspired by the 1996 sesquicentennial of the arrival of the Brooklyn, the ship that brought almost two hundred Latter-day Saints to the shores of the Golden State, California is an impressive addition to the Regional Studies series and has many interesting stories to tell. Since the arrival of those first Saints, California has witnessed important events in both national and Church history. The book’s fifteen articles treat subjects as diverse as the march of the Mormon Battalion, the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, and the riots that erupted in Los Angeles following the Rodney King trial. Organized chronologically, the essays present a myriad of images, each one adding a distinctive flavor. Eliminating any single essay would leave the work incomplete.
The contributors bring to the volume numerous approaches and perspectives, giving the reader a taste of the richness and variety that has characterized the Saints’ experiences in California. With some articles focusing on individuals, others on groups or events, and all demonstrating the Golden State’s significant role in the past, present, and future of the Church, California is never boring. However, with the exception of the article by Richard Holzapfel, the volume might have benefited from illustrations that would give life to lengthy descriptions of people and places.