Five lively firsthand accounts of real life in the exciting pre-Yankee era of California’s rich history are offered in this book—four of them world premiere publications, and all of them new and complete translations. This was an era not only of political intrigues and sectional clashes but also of upheaval as new ideas and attitudes came to a conservative Californian society. Piracy, kidnapping, lust, Indian uprisings, and scenes of battle all vie for the reader’s attention with fascinating passages about everyday life in the missions and presidios, governmental offices, and barracks. Governors are ejected, invaders fought, revolts arise, and plots hatched. While largely centered in Southern California, these accounts also bring us north to the Bay area and south to Baja California and farther.
The reader of these memoirs will enjoy an intimate experience of life as it really was—a personal view not to be found in standard textbooks. As before with the author’s previous foray into California history, Narciso Botello’s Annals 1833–1847, the original manuscripts are rendered into a spirited English translation, capturing the nuances and vigor of these adventures in a land so familiar yet so exotic.