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Arts & Culture

Gerald Haslam Recalls Tragic Story Of Athlete Leon Patterson With New Book

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Author Gerald Haslam is something of a literary renaissance man. A historian, novelist, essayist and biographer, he is one of California’s most respected writers, and has devoted much of his career to telling stories about life in the Central Valley. His writing is much like the region he comes from: direct, unpretentious, and often filled with surprising depth and color.

The Oildale native’s newest book “Leon Patterson: A California Story” is co-authored with his wife Janice and tells the story of a young man from Taft who became one of the nation’s top high school and collegiate athletes, only to have his life cut short by illness at age 22. 

Through the story of Patterson, his family and those who loved and supported him, Haslam gives us new insights into life in Kern County in the years following the Second World War. 

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