This book is targeted toward students of California, but it certainly is readable enough to appeal to the general reader from California (like me?). People from other states probably would not find much of interest, except tangentially (for example, Arizona is on a tangent to California?).
First, the authors review the history of the state, from the Native American roots through the Spanish and Mexican years, through the admission to the United States. Following this is an interesting discussion of the types of government, from state to local, with helpful explanations. The style of writing is clear, not verbose or arcane in any way.
Particularly helpful to me was the discussion of the evolution of the tax revolt, embodied in the Jarvis-Gann Initiative, which became law, limiting property tax values to 1% of assessed valuation. Also, the etiology of the environmental movement, and of minority politics in California, was elucidated.
For example, Californians are vaguely aware that water has always been problematic, especially in the more arid Southern California area. Here in this book we learn the history of the various aquaducts and the ongoing battle between Northern and Southern California for water. We surmise, therefrom, about what might happen in the future (for example, water shortages in Southern California, et cetera). This will help us Californians to make decisions in the future, even if only by means of our one vote per person.
Californians of all ilks can benefit from this book, which offers a balanced and informative discussion of issues from the past up to the present.