Cal. Litig. 2019, Volume 32, Number 3

The Browns of California: The Family Dynasty That Transformed a State and Shaped a Nation

By Miriam Pawel

Reviewed by Marc Alexander

Marc Alexander is a mediator and a litigator at AlvaradoSmith APC. He authors California Mediation and Arbitration ( and is a co-contributor to California Attorney’s Fees ( He is a member of the California Litigation Editorial Board.

Miriam Pawel, an independent scholar, award-winning journalist, and author of books about Cesar Chavez and his union organizing crusades, has now written an excellent and leisurely family history of the Browns of California that also serves as a window on the political history of our state. No family has done more to serve and shape California than the Browns. Pat Brown served as Governor, Attorney General, and District Attorney of San Francisco; Jerry Brown served twice as Governor, as Attorney General, as Mayor of Oakland, as Chair of the California Democratic Party, and as Secretary of State; Pat’s daughter, Kathleen Brown served as State Treasurer; Pat’s brother, Harold Brown, served as Justice on the Court of Appeal; and, Pat’s granddaughter Kathleen Kelly is a Superior Court Judge in San Francisco. If one theme unites this extraordinary family, it is a calling to civic service.

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