POSTPONED: Mark Arax - The Dreamt Land (College of Marin)

Friday, April 24, 2020 - 1:00pm

Please note: This event has been postponed due to concerns for the health and well-being of our community. For updates on this event and for additional event information, please subscribe to our e-newsletter.

Friday Afternoon Author Series • College of Marin, Kentfield Library
Sponsored by Emeritus Students College of Marin, College of Marin Community Education and Lifelong Learning, and Book Passage

Other Friday Afternoon Author Lectures: Michael Shapiro - The Creative SparkLouise Aronson - Elderhood

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ESCOM is delighted to partner with Book Passage in bringing a free series of interesting authors to the community. ESCOM, the Emeritus Students College of Marin, is a unique organization of 1500 senior students within the Community Education Department at the College of Marin. The organization fosters lifelong learning through classes, clubs, special events and a reading room. They publish a newsletter of original writing and commentary. ESCOM is sustained by memberships, gifts and bequests. Leadership is through a Council and various committees.

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Mark Arax is from a family of Central Valley farmers, a writer with deep ties to the land who has watched the battles over water intensify even as California lurches from drought to flood and back again. In The Dreamt Land, he travels the state to explore the one-of-a-kind distribution system, built in the 1940s, '50s and '60s, that is straining to keep up with California's relentless growth. This is a heartfelt, beautifully written book about the land and the people who have worked it--from gold miners to wheat ranchers to small fruit farmers and today's Big Ag. Since the beginning, Californians have redirected rivers, drilled ever-deeper wells and built higher dams, pushing the water supply past its limit.

The Dreamt Land weaves reportage, history and memoir to confront the "Golden State" myth in riveting fashion. No other chronicler of the West has so deeply delved into the empires of agriculture that drink so much of the water. The nation's biggest farmers--the nut king, grape king and citrus queen--tell their story here for the first time. This is a tale of politics and hubris in the arid West, of imported workers left behind in the sun and the fatigued earth that is made to give more even while it keeps sinking. But when drought turns to flood once again, all is forgotten as the farmers plant more nuts and the developers build more houses.

Arax, the native son, is persistent and tough as he treks from desert to delta, mountain to valley. What he finds is hard earned, awe-inspiring, tragic and revelatory. In the end, his compassion for the land becomes an elegy to the dream that created California and now threatens to undo it.

Mark Arax is an author and journalist whose writings on California and the West have received numerous awards for literary nonfiction. A former staffer at the Los Angeles Times, his work has appeared in The New York Times and the California Sunday Magazine. His books include a memoir of his father's murder, a collection of essays about the West, and the best-selling The King of California, which won a California Book Award, the William Saroyan Prize from Stanford University, and was named a top book of 2004 by the Los Angeles Times and the San Francisco Chronicle. He lives in Fresno, California.

Location: 
Kentfield Library
College of Marin
Kentfield, CA 94904
The Dreamt Land: Chasing Water and Dust Across California Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9781101910191
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Vintage - April 7th, 2020

A vivid, searching journey into California's capture of water and soil—the epic story of a people's defiance of nature and the wonders, and ruin, it has wrought