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February 2017 Vol. 54 No. 6

Trinity University Press

The following review appeared in the February 2017 issue of CHOICE. The review is for your internal use only. Please review our Permission and Reprints Guidelines or email

Social & Behavioral Sciences
Political Science - U.S. Politics

Miller, Char. Not so Golden State: sustainability vs. the California dream. Trinity University, 2016. 265p afp ISBN 9781595347824 pbk, $17.95; ISBN 9781595347831 ebook, $17.95.

In this collection of 37 short essays, Miller (Pomona College) explores a wide variety of environmental concerns and restoration efforts. In the first section, he focuses on the Los Angeles region, especially the Los Angeles River and San Gabriel valley areas in and around Claremont, where he resides. Miller then covers endangered species recovery along the California coast and wildfires in western states. He returns in the final section to the protection of public lands in the Southwest and West. Miller thoughtfully raises questions about Indigenous populations, ecotourism, and the meaning of wilderness. The essays mix historical background, insights from naturalists and contemporary writers, personal observations, and current controversies. The essays are consistently written in an accessible and informative style, although some passages seem overly poetic. Though the title implies a pessimistic view, the author recognizes positive outcomes as well. The essays have surprising depth and concisely identify the complexities of human interactions with different environments. The book is of interest to undergraduate students and the public. Environmental studies scholars will find that the book provides ideas for future research and class discussion.

--M. L. Godwin, University of La Verne

Summing Up: Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduates through faculty.