California State of Mind: The Legacy of Pat Brown | Chicago Reader

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Best known now as Jerry Brown's father, Edmund G. "Pat" Brown was one of California's great liberal lions, winning election as governor in 1958 and defeating Richard Nixon in 1962 before Ronald Reagan took him down in 1966. This engrossing documentary by his granddaughter, Sascha Rice, argues that his career offers lessons for today, and it delivers most powerfully when recounting his visionary overhaul of the state's university system, which made education affordable to every resident. Most of the drama takes place in his first term (his personal agony over the execution of rapist Caryl Chessman in 1960, his inability to control the California delegation at the Democratic Convention later that year), after which Rice briefly considers the Brown dynasty (not only Jerry, who won his first term as governor in 1974, but her mother, Kathleen, who ran against Pete Wilson in 1994). Her treatment of the second term drags noticeably, but this is still an absorbing look at a passionate and principled man.

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