An enormous history of California, exhaustively researched, but unaccented, unmodulated. Mr. Roske's method of approach is lateral--a vast scooping up of events and personalities for each stratum of time and movement. To be sure, this faithful recording does give the reader an impact of direction--but from a long view. The violent entry of the Spanish; the arrival of the first ""Americans""; the rush of the pioneers; taken in its near-totality, clues in the reader to the diversity and dynamism of a state whose modern growth did not begin until well into the Forties. Mr. Roske takes a stern look at local government, from the vigilante pressures of the nineteenth century to the clashing pressure groups today. ""Yet, even without political leaders to match its natural superiority, it has survived, grown and prospered."" Current problems, which have received so much attention recently--political, social, educational, conservationist--are carefully spelled out, and the author's view is cautiously liberal. Mr. Roske's style, in which the academic dependent clause reigns supreme, and his tireless recital of faultless fact weakens the (popular) potential of the subject. With an index, this is a regional and/or reference item.