This book began as a venture to collect official and unofficial documents relating to the interval of American military rule. There proved to be thousands, the writings of Presidents, executive officers, and congressmen, naval and military personnel, governors, settlers, and citizens-routine, familiar, wheedling, seductive, blustering, commanding. As the quantity grew, they seemed eager to be heard. But the documents exhibit the traits of their makers. Containing neither the whole truth nor nothing but the truth, they offer many-sided versions of what people believed or wanted others to accept; they must be taken with a grain of salt. Long, sometimes garbled, and always incomplete, the record requires assessment, a referee to appraise the evidence and form his own imperfect conclusions. And any curious or dissenting reader may, by consulting the numerous cited sources, make his own interpretations. References, whenever possible, have been made to materials in some printed form, leading an inquirer to a vast array of historical evidence. Everything herein happened, or so the record tells, and if an assumption has been made, it is that men, issues, and events can be interesting in their own right, without exaggeration. "To exaggerate," a knowing urban child recently observed, "means you put in something to make it more exciting" (Los Angeles Times, Dec. 10, 1978).
Neal Harlow was on the staffs of the Bancroft Library, the California State Library, and the library of UCLA; he was Head Librarian at the University of British Columbia for a decade and was Dean of the Graduate School of Library Service, Rutgers University, from 1961 to 1969.
"A truly superb book which organizes, reveals the illustrates the beginnings of the this state. . . . California history has been clarified and enriched." --J.S. Holliday, San Francisco Chronicle "Harlow supersedes everyone else who has written about the invasion and occupation [of California] by the US because he summarizes the literature of the field, treats the story in great detail, keeps the narrative straights, and deftly weaves a large number of quotations into the text to allow the characters to speak for themselves. The book is, therefore, a mine of information about the end of the Mexican and the beginning of the American era."--Choice "A definitive account of the addition of California, from the earliest antecedents for conquest to the establishment of the first state government. Broad in scope, yet intimate in detail, this work tells of the activities not only of American military leaders, but also of Mexican and California officials."--W. Edwin Derrick, Library Journal "[Harlow] has assembled and marshaled the rich but scattered original documents. He has mastered the literature. His lucid narrative carries buoyantly through the dramatics and the impasses. . . .This spritely book does justice to this crucial subject."--John Caughey, Los Angeles Times