Recommendations for a recent popular history of Alta California before the American annexation?
I recently visited Hearst Castle and saw the cattle ranch that's a continuation of a Mexican rancho, and likewise I was fascinated by the veneration for Junipero Serra at the Carmel mission, who up to this point had simply been the name of a road for me. I'd like to learn a little bit more about the history of California before the American annexation, especially (but probably not primarily) as to its lingering effects on contemporary northern California.
In particular, I'd like something well-written, compelling, aimed at the general layman, but up-to-date and engaging in the same kinds of questions as contemporary scholarship. Following the advice given in this question
, I recently read 1491 and 1493 and really appreciated Mann's ability to craft a narrative accessible to the layman but informed by the last fifty years of scholarship. I would really love to find something like those books but on the encounters between Native Americans and Europeans in Alta California. In a pinch, a history of the Spanish Americas in the 18th and 19th centuries might do the trick, but I'd really like something focusing on California.
I saw that there are some recent scholarly texts (e.g. Jackson and Castillo's Indians, Franciscans, and Spanish Colonization: The Impact of the Mission System on California Indians
), which might work if they're sufficiently engaging and not too specialized.
Unfortunately, I don't speak Spanish, so I hope this book, if it exists, is in English! Thanks so much for your help in advance.