Historian Louise Pubols presents a rich and nuanced study of a key family in California's past: the de la Guerras of Santa Barbara. Amid sweeping economic and political changes, including the U.S.Mexican War, the de la Guerra family continually adapted and reinvented themselves. This absorbing narrative is much more than the history of an elite and powerful family, however. Pubols analyzes the region's trading and provisioning economy and clarifies its volatile political rivalries. By tracing a web of business and family relationships, Pubols shows in practical terms how patriarchy functioned from generation to generation in Spanish and Mexican California. This is the first of a series of books on western history to be copublished by the Huntington Library and University of California Press.
Louise Pubols is Chief Curator of the History Department of the Oakland Museum of California.
“This deeply researched, engagingly presented, and immensely valuable book demolishes longstanding myths about Mexican California as a colorful, custom-bound world apart. In place of this fantasy past, Louise Pubols offers a history of the de la Guerras that reveals a family and a society caught up in, yet not wholly overcome by, the global economic and political developments of the first half of the nineteenth century.”—Stephen Aron, Professor of History at the University of California, Los Angeles, and Executive Director of the Institute for the Study of the American West at the Autry National Center
“The Father of All combines first-rate historical analysis with in-depth archival research. Don José de la Guerra and his extended family are fascinating historical personages, and their encounters with other Californio elites provide a compelling story, but Pubols takes us to a higher level of understanding by demonstrating the crucial role of extended family ties in the economic and political history of California during the Mexican Period. Pubols provides a convincing argument that family ties kept the prevalent political unrest from breaking out into more violent civil conflict.”—Dr. Jarrell C. Jackman, Executive Director, Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation