Kevin Starr Awarded Los Angeles Times Book Prize in History

The USC College history professor was recognized for Golden Dreams, the final book in his multi-volume cultural history of California.
ByLaurie Moore

Kevin Starr, University Professor and professor of history in USC College, has won the 2009 Los Angeles Times Book Prize in history for his book Golden Dreams: California in an Age of Abundance 1950-1963.

Published in 2009 by Oxford University Press, the book concludes Starr’s monumental seven-volume cultural history of the Golden State collectively titled Americans and the California Dream. Each book in the series covers a critical time period in California’s vibrant history.

In Golden Dreams, Starr focuses on the state’s economic, social and cultural forces during the postwar period, when the California we know today first burst into prominence.

According to Los Angeles Times Book Prize history judges who selected Starr’s book, “With Golden Dreams, Kevin Starr has placed a majestic capstone on his monumental history of California. This is history at its most capacious and inclusive: beautifully written, panoramic in its viewpoint, keen in its insight.”

At USC, Starr researches California history, urban history, and the history of American culture. He was named State Librarian Emeritus by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger after serving as California State Librarian from 1994 to 2004. Starr adds the Los Angeles Times Book Prize to his many accolades, which include the 2006 National Endowment for the Humanities Medal and the 2005 USC Presidential Medallion.

“It was an honor for me to be recognized by a leading metropolitan newspaper for which I had the privilege of serving as a contributing editor, and where I made many friends, in a city where for the past 21 years I have been privileged to teach at USC,” Starr said.

The Los Angeles Times Book Prizes have honored the best books of the year annually since 1980. Finalists and winners were selected by panels of published authors who specialize in a specific genre. Awards were presented to winners on April 23 in a ceremony at the Los Angeles Times building.