Farewell, Promised Land: Waking from the California Dream

Farewell, Promised Land: Waking From the California Dream | Robert Dawson and Gray Brechin | University of California Press 1999 | Photo by Jonathan VanAntwerpen

“California has long served as the nation’s rift zone between fantasy and reality. Along that tense fissure, creativity and commitment have welled up, together with the more newsworthy forces of violence and destruction. Those who have come to this remarkable strip of land along the Pacific are learning that they can no longer rely on the promises made by promoters to draw them here. They must learn to understand and appreciate, as Olmstead wrote in 1864, the fixed qualities of the place if they are to build something worth calling a civilization upon it. Only by treating the land — the skin of its soil, the blood of its streams, and the breath of its sea winds — as worthy of the same love with which we endow those closest to us will California become not simply real estate, but home.”

from Farewell, Promised Land: Waking From the California Dream | Robert Dawson and Gray Brechin | University of California Press 1999

Jonathan VanAntwerpen is a program director at the Henry Luce Foundation. Originally trained as a philosopher, he holds a Ph.D. in sociology from UC-Berkeley.