Very Good / Good. Item #9600
New York: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1940. First Edition. Octavo (23.5x16x4.5cm); xvi + 680pp, including brief discursive bibliography and index. Full-color double-spread frontispiece map; 6 additional B&W maps; 51 documentary illustrations and photographs in B&W.
Navy blue cloth with gilt stamping on spine and front panel. In original glassine. Glassine is browned with roughened edges and small closed tears—but is whole and in remarkably solid shape. Volume is unmarred and unmarked apart from first owner's signature name and address in ink on ffep. Bookstore ticket on rear pastedown: "U.C.L.A. Students' Store, $3.75." Our photos show the volume both with and without its glassine jacket.
That first owner was Vadim (or Wadim) W. Sounitza (1918-2010) who bought it as an undergraduate at UCLA and took exceptional care of it. Sounitza was born in Russia, moved as a boy to California with his family, served in the American army in World War II, and went on to be an intelligence officer for the CIA for nearly 30 years.
Author John Walton Caughey (1902-1995) was revered, in his generation, as the leading historian of California. When this volume appeared in 1940, the New York Times reviewed it as "unquestionably the most important and valuable single-volume history of California ever published."