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Teddy Roosevelt once exclaimed, "When I am in California, I am not in the West. I am west of the West," and in this book, Mark Arax spends four years traveling up and down the Golden State to explore its singular place in the world. This is California beyond the cliches. This is California as only a native son, deep in the dust, could draw it. Compelling, lyrical and ominous, his collection finds a different drama rising out of each confounding landscape. Arax combines journalism, essay, and memoir to capture social upheaval as well as the sense of being rooted in a community. Piece by piece, the stories become a whole, a stunning panorama of California, and America, in a new century.