The Golden Shore
From the first human settlements to the latest marine explorations, The Golden Shore tells the tale of the history, culture, and changing nature of California’s coasts and ocean. Author David Helvarg takes the reader on both a geographic and literary journey along the 1,100-mile Pacific coastline, from the Oregon border to the San Diego/Tijuana international border fence and out into its whale-, seal-, and shark-rich offshore seamounts, rock isles, and kelp forests.

Part history, part travelogue, part love letter, The Golden Shore tells the story of California’s majestic coastline and ocean. Helvarg captures the spirit of the Californian coast, its mythic place in American culture, and its role in a state whose ongoing natural disasters and unremitting sense of renewal are intimately linked to its deep connection with an ever-changing sea.

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Book TitleThe Golden Shore
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The Golden Shore Reviews

  • Diana Guerrero
    Dec 4, 2016

    Diana Guerrero

    Although rich and informative, the book felt like a speedy information dump. Interesting for sure especially as I am a coastie that was born on the coast of California and lived in most of the areas mentioned within the book. Some information was new to me but not all. One of my book g...

  • Liam
    Apr 1, 2014


    "During this last major ice age, with the sea level more that three hundred feet lower than it is today, it was possible for hunters to travel by foot through what is now not a river valley but the waters of San Francisco Bay and on through the naturally formed Golden Gate bluffs..." (...

  • Caren
    Jan 18, 2014


    After visiting the southern California shore during the holidays, I picked up this book in order to find out a bit more about the lovely places I saw. This book is a very thorough treatment of the entire California coastline. By that, I mean he has covered nearly every aspect that coul...

  • Tom
    Sep 18, 2013


    Pulled this book off the new non-fiction shelf at the library. Nice mix of current uses of the California coast with some history. The final two chapters of a tour from Mexican border to the Oregon border was a little brief, kind of like the "I've Been Everywhere" song. Otherwise, well...

  • Chris
    Aug 4, 2013


    California's 1,100-mile shoreline is just too big and diverse for any single, marketable book to cover with much depth. But you'll get more than your feet wet reading David Helvarg's new book, The Golden Shore.That's because Helvarg has totally immersed himself in California's coast fo...

  • Mark
    Jun 20, 2013


    If you are a native Californian (or even if you're not) you'll enjoy this history of our state. If you are the marine type (and I am- 5/6 of my life has been lived within 25 mi. of the Pacific, whether in California or Hawaii)- there's great deal of info here regarding our interaction ...

  • Bart Simmons
    May 19, 2013

    Bart Simmons

    Just a fantastic read! Could not put it down. David's writing style and knowledge of the california coast are fabulous! Bart ...

  • Qazwsx
    Mar 21, 2013


    It's a good non fiction book when I stopped a few times each page to look up additional material on Wikipedia.I also never knew the Chumash ate dolphin. :(California has more and bigger oil spill response teams the the entire Gulf region???A zip line connects two of the Farallon island...

  • Lorri
    Mar 4, 2013


    "The Golden Shore: California's Love Affair with the Sea", by David Helvarg, is a book that strikes a chord with those of us who love the sea, and with those of us who wish to keep our environment a force of life for all who inhabit it.Helvarg has demonstrated elegance and eloquence in...

  • Hillary
    Feb 24, 2013


    I've yet to visit the west coast, so I was very excited to have won this book in one of the giveaways. Reading through this piece has made me even more excited to travel and has given me a better understanding as to why the west coast really is in love with the water! I can't say I bla...