In this first biography of Edmund Gerald Brown Jr. in more than thirty years, Chuck McFadden explores the unique persona of one of the most idiosyncratic politicians in California history. Son of California political royalty who forged his own political style against the tumultuous backdrop of a huge, balkanized state - and shoved to and fro by complex currents - Jerry Brown plumbed his visionary impulses as well as his grandiose ambitions. McFadden traces Brown's childhood in San Francisco, his time studying for the priesthood, his unusual political career, and his romances - including a long-term relationship with singer Linda Ronstadt. He describes Brown's first two terms as governor advocating for farm workers, women and minorities, his time roaming the world in a spiritual quest, and his return to the gritty world of politics as chairman of the California Democratic Party and then mayor of Oakland. Political experts weigh in with thoughts about the remarkable 2010 campaign that saw the 72-year-old Brown winning his third term in office while being vastly outspent by Republican Meg Whitman. Concise, insightful, and enlivened by the events and personalities that colored the history of California, "Trailblazer" provides an intimate portrait of the pugnacious, adept politician who has bucked national trends to become a leader of one of the largest economies in the world.
Acknowledgments Introduction: The Comeback Codger 1. Early Years: Politics and Religion 2. Going Statewide: Learning the Ropes and Hunting Headlines 3. The Big Show 4. Romance, Flip-Flops, and Moonbeams 5. Back and Forth: Zen and Politics 6. The Governor-Turned-Mayor and Marriage 7. The Remarkable Election 8. Difficult Choices Afterword Appendix 1: Three Inaugural Addresses Appendix 2: Author's Note on California's Constitution: Bigger, but Not Necessarily Better Notes Bibliography Index