Sunday, January 26, 2014
Steve W. Hackel
Hill and Wang
In the 1770s, just as Britain’s American subjects were freeing themselves from the burdens of colonial rule, Spaniards moved up the California coast to build frontier outposts of empire and church. At the head of this effort was Junípero Serra, an ambitious Franciscan who hoped to convert California Indians to Catholicism and turn them into European-style farmers. For his efforts, he has been beatified by the Catholic Church and widely celebrated as the man who laid the foundation for modern California. But his legacy is divisive. The missions Serra founded would devastate California’s Native American population, and much more than his counterparts in colonial America, he remains a contentious and contested figure to this day.
I'm a sucker for a biography that's engaging and easy to read, this book does not disappoint. Eye opening and historically accurate I was fascinated. While consider the founding father of California Serra had a dark side that was carefully navigated in this book. Worth reading. Don't expect to get warm fuzzies but do expect to get to know a historical figure that is first, and foremost, just a man.
My thanks to Hill and Wang for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for my real and honest review.