Daniel Blackburn is the Senior Correspondent and Co-Founder of Cal Coast News. He is also a veteran journalist, a best-selling author and the former capital bureau chief of the Orange County Register.
By Love Solutions on August 17, 2015
“It is hard to imagine reading this book and not like spending time with Cliff Branch. As others have noted, it's an enjoyable book that reader can pick up and putdown or be involved for lengthy periods. It will invoke smiles, LOL ha-ha, and pensive reflection on not-so-happy aspects of life. Reward yourself...”
5 Five Stars!
By D. Parmley on August 16, 2015
By D. Dee. August 13, 2015
“Great thing to have on my coffee table when International guests come through because of all the pictures. Inevitably they will often pick a little story or two to read aloud and we all end up laughing. The illustrations really add a lot to the stories and the book paints such a unique picture of central California, my guests just love it. I've had to replace this book several times because I end up giving it to them when they go. Who knows how many distant corners of the world will end up hearing the stories and thoughts of Cliff Branch? :-)"
Required Reading for High School Students
By Alison Serey on August 13, 2015
Format: Kindle Edition
“As a boomer myself, I can say this read is a fun ride through the 60’s and a true reflection of the times. The author is brilliant, humorous, and hits the nail on the head – every time. The book should be required reading in every high school social studies class across the country. Imagine … a book every student and teacher would enjoy reading and benefit from at the same time! "
Baby Boomer’s Bible
By D. Davis on August 12, 2015
Format: Kindle Edition
“What a surprising find! Witty, insightful, honest account of the Baby Boomers era!! I am from the Central Coast of California and growing up heard many stories of Cliff Branch as Central Coast Legend. When a friend told me I had to read this book I was not interested in another self-story, but after hearing a bunch of the stories second hand I decided to give it a try. I literally read the book cover to cover. The entire read I felt like I was getting the honest scoop on the times and that each story had a pearl of wisdom or lesson that I could take away. By the end of the book I had slightly re-written my perspective on the one historical time that I wish I had experienced. Thank you Cliff Branch for a great ride! A must read for anyone who is a Baby-Boomer or who is looking to better understand America's Greatest Generation...."
Loved the Journey!
By Cheryl Baum on August 7, 2015
Format: Kindle Edition
“This book took me back in time. Being a boomer myself I loved reflecting on all of the things that we have accomplished in our lifetime. Cliff Branch puts this book together in such a way that you that you really felt like we made a difference. Fast forward to the present and a look at where we are now. Makes you think! So thought provoking"
American Made...a road less traveled
By SLOFireDon "Captn'" on April 16, 2015
“Jack Kerouac gave us the "Beat" generation of the 50's and Cliff Branch gives us intimate insight into the "Boomer" generation of the 60's and 70's! Cliff takes you down his road less traveled, from small towns like Carmel and San Luis Obispo, California to big time business adventures. He shares his insights, concerns and close personal relationships openly and holds those in public office and financial industries accountable for their actions. Both a personal history and a journey through time, with laugh out loud moments, American Made shines a clear light on past events and brings into focus what's around the corner."
The Way 20th Century History Should Be Written
By Scott Radovich on April 16, 2015
“Cliff Branch has taken us back to a time of tumult and triumph, of California's golden promise seen through the lens of a true entrepreneur. Well before the "dot commers", there were people like Cliff Branch who harnessed creativity into innovations. American Made is a great and fun read. It is the way 20th Century history should be taught."
Inspiring and thought-provoking
By B. McAdams on April 5, 2015
“A fun, inspiring and enlightening first-hand account of entrepreneurial spirit and the American Dream lived out in sunny California. Worth reading as a glimpse into the early days of California's rise as the country's cultural innovator, but even more so as a practical guide to being in business while keeping your soul. Every 18 year old should read it!"
Real American History
By Paul Barry on March 29, 2015
“The modern American success story - Cliff Branch looks back on his fascinating life over the last 50 years. Business, culture and family - hot tubs, hi-fis, race cars and computers, they are all here, captured with a keen eye for constant political and societal change. From the American Graffiti hot rod 50s, to the "peace and love" (and war) of the 60s, the drugs (and yes, the hot tubs) of the 70s, to the Wall Street excesses of the 80s and beyond, Cliff tells the true story of modern America.
Witty, honest and hopeful, this is a must read for all baby boomers, but more importantly, also for their children and grandchildren, to help them really understand the world we live in."
By John Summer on March 18, 2015
“When I was a college student in the late 60's to early 70's... all we cared about was music, protests and whatever would "enhance" both. But what was lacking was any thought of what we'd do after that. Then I became aware of a small niche among the "counter culture" movement that could actually create a business both serving, and (shamelessly) profiting off of the unique needs of our generation. I knew Cliff Branch before I actually came to know him. Through his unique marketing of both audio systems and hot tubs, Cliff was a hero and inspiration of mine back when most others were dropping out of the free market system that makes America such a vibrant land of opportunity and world enhancing innovation. As fellow residents of the Central Coast of California now, I'm proud to know Cliff and am sure after reading his wonderful homage to our special part of the world and how he's contributed to it, you will want to know Cliff too. 'American Made" is exactly what the title says it is. And Cliff is a blue chip example of what anyone can do in America, if they dream and work hard to make it so. And it doesn't hurt to have a good time along the way!"
By Bill Fro on March 11, 2015
“When I first picked it up, I was skeptical, thinking it might be simply a hodge-podge of someone's photos and personal reflections and not really all that relevant to me. Then I opened the pages and started the journey -- and what a journey -- a real trip, but without needing the drugs! This guy can write with a conversational ease, as well as with a probing insight, and the expressed wisdom and honesty of lessons learned. This is nostalgia at its best, something that leads you positively forward with a deep appreciation and understanding of where you've been. The photos are actually fabulous -- funny, poignant, cool, and eye-opening. Cliff and his friend and former partner, Tom Spalding, created or were involved in many activities and business ventures that touched my life and I would imagine many, many people out there, no matter where you're from -- you'll dig these guys. This was great time-tripping. Grab a cup of Joe, kick back, and take a great ride. I'm a boomer, but you don't have to be one to enjoy this book. As John Denver loved saying: "Far out, man!"
By Barbara Israel on March 6, 2015
“Funny, insightful, educational and enlightening. One of my favorite reads so far, this year. I recognized several of Cliff's accomplishments from my time growing up in the 70's, when his company’s advertising materials were part of the landscape of my life, growing up. Also loved his take on a number of the cultural touchstone's that have been a key part of being a baby boomer, everything from the heinous misdeeds of Wall Streeter to the insidious back story driving Fox News and its ilk. A fun read I was lucky to be turned onto.”
Not Just for Boomers Anymore. ;-)
By Angelea Walkup on March 6, 2015
“In the pages of Cliff Branch’s, American Made, you’re served generous helpings of The Wonder Years and Mad Men with a spicy side of The Social Network.”
A great read for the boomer generation...and what it was like for the non boomers.
By bobmga62 on March 4, 2015
“Baby boomers rejoice...Mr. Branch clearly captures the youth of growing up in the fifties and sixties... a great throwback of your youth and how as we all age, we all unite, whether it’s with the Beach Boys, Vietnam or the Lone Ranger, we discover so much in common, no matter which coast you grew up on.”
Accomplished novelist Sue Branch’s latest work, a memoir very thinly disguised as fiction, provides readers a rare look under the covers and into the marriage and divorce of one of San Luis Obispo’s former prominent couples. Though the names of many of their friends, colleagues, and companions have been changed, some Central Coast residents will be able to easily discern the characters’ real identities.
“The names have not been changed to protect the innocent since there was very little innocence going on, except, of course, for me,” Sue Branch writes.
“The Fairy Tale Girl” is a memoir about romance, infidelity, and starting over based on her tumultuous marriage to — and inevitable divorce — from entrepreneur Cliff Branch. Sue’s 15 novels and cookbooks have sold more than 3.5 million copies.
In her current book, Sue describes the 70s version of Cliff as young, handsome and successful — but a wayward husband.
“Girls threw themselves at him everywhere he went, but not quite as enthusiastically, it seemed to me, as he threw himself at them,” Sue writes in her novel.
In those days, Sue said, women sought monogamy, while their husbands wanted subservient wives. And with the sexual revolution and the woman’s movement, neither sex was getting what they wanted.
In his second book published in May 2015, “American Made,” Cliff is vague about the cause of his breakup from Sue. “All I can say about our breakup is that we were young, and the matrimonial part of my brain had not fully developed.”
Sue is much more forthcoming.
“Sooner or later I’d see the situation for what it was, and what it was, was usually blond,” Sue writes.
In his book, Cliff said he was the “inspiration Sue needed to move across the country to Martha’s Vineyard.” Sue, however, talks about the heartache motivating her move.
“Of course – big fish, little pond – our breakups were fodder for the gossip mill in our little town and hard to escape,” Sue writes. “Everyone wanted to talk to me about him, asking me how I felt, and what was going to happen.
“How could I know? I wasn’t in charge. I would put on a fake brave face, cry buckets with my girlfriends, get a job as a waitress, go on fake dates and out fake dancing while Cliff romped around SLO with his new girlfriend in his Lamborghini or whatever zippity-doo-dah car du jour he had at the time.”
While Cliff and Sue may not have been the best match as a married couple, they have remained good friends for the past 30 years. Nevertheless, Cliff admits he remains a bit nervous about Sue’s latest book, which will be released next week in book stores and on Amazon. The book can also be order now at SusanBranch.com and Cliff’s book can be ordered on Amazon.