This is an informal history of California politics from its entry into the Union to the aftermath of the Reagan victory, with the emphasis on the campaigns of recent years. The author's tone is light and his approach is that of the political reporter but the depth of his research is evident. What are the factors which account for California's unpredictable politics? Hill's answer: its expansive geography; its early domination by the Southern Pacific R.R.; the Progressive Party reforms of Hiram Johnson, and the subsequent enshrinement of ""independent voting,"" especially under Earl Warren; its weak party organization; and, more tenuously, a preoccupation with personalities rather than issues. Still, Hill claims that California has had an ""exceptionally serviceable government"" and he thinks that it is in the ""vanguard of national developments."" The recent split in the Democratic Party dates his analysis of the outlook for Democrats ""out there"" but his book should nevertheless prove valuable for some students of government.