On April 6th, 2014 1pm come join us as we welcome Gregory Orfalea – winner of the Arab American Book Award and was a finalist for the Pen USA Prize – to Old Capitol Books when he comes around with his new book, Journey to the Sun: Junipero Serra’s Dream and the Founding of California.
Praise for Journey to the Sun:
“A California story becomes an American story . . . . doggedly researched and fulsomely argued biography.”
“A brilliant biography about a key Hispanic figure in the launching of American history . . .highly readable.”
—Daniel E. Krieger, Professor of History, Emeritus, California Polytechnic State University; Past-President, California Mission Studies Association
“Orfalea’s lively and engaging narrative not only humanizes Junipero Serra, but, just as important, takes into consideration the cultural perspectives of California Indians as they engaged the Spanish colonial world.”
—John R. Johnson, Ph.D., Curator of Anthropology, Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History
“Serra comes alive in this volume as in no other.”
—Allan Figueroa Deck, SJ, Casassa Chair and Professor of Theological Studies, Loyola Marymount University
As in love with St. Francis as the current Pope Francis I, Father Junipero Serra left Spain at 36, in 1749, destined for the New World. The Franciscan priest’s mandate was to travel to Mexico and later California, where Spain was counteracting Russian expansion, establishing a rest stop for Manilla Galleons to the Orient, and converting natives to Christianity. It was an undertaking that seemed impossible, given the vast distances, the challenges of an unforgiving landscape, and the danger posed by resistant native tribes. Yet, by the time he died, at 71, Serra had traveled 14,000 miles, baptized and confirmed more than 6,000 Indians, and founded nine of California’s 21 missions. Twelve years in the making, JOURNEY TO THE SUN: Junipero Serra’s Dream and the Founding of California is Gregory Orfalea’s authoritative and incisive biography of a man whose story is as essential to the founding of our nation as the stories of Plymouth Rock and Jamestown (on-sale January 14, 2014 from Scribner).
Serra was deeply passionate about bringing Christianity to the native people of California, even as he tried to protect them from the soldiers of the Spanish Crown. The names of the missions he founded will be familiar to any American—San Diego, San Gabriel, San Juan Capistrano, Santa Clara, San Francisco—though many of us know little about the story behind them. Combining European and American history, religious scholarship, geography, and anthropology, Orfalea masterfully recounts the story and brings new information to our knowledge of a man whose massive cultural project not only created the blueprint for modern California, but changed the future of our nation. As the Hispanic influence on America increases, so will the power of Serra’s story, one deeply woven with that of Native Americans in both inspiring and troubling ways.
GREGORY ORFALEA was born and raised in Los Angeles, California, and educated at Georgetown University and the University of Alaska. He is the author or editor of eight books, the most recent of which are The Man Who Guarded the Bomb (2010) and Angeleno Days (2009). The recipient of many awards for his writing, Orfalea’s Angeleno Days won the 2010 Arab American Book Award and was named a Finalist for the PEN USA Award in Creative Nonfiction. He has taught at the Claremont Colleges, Georgetown University, and Westmont College.