"I've never in any of my books seen California as an intensely regional civilization," says Kevin Starr, "the way, for instance, the South is an intensive region with its own tangled psychology and civil system and tragic experience with the war between the states and Faulkner. Or New England with Hawthorne and Cotton Mather and Harvard and that swirling around. California's not that."It's more a national laboratory, a national projection of the total American people. It's the one region every other region has in common. It's an experiment for the entire nation about what things go on." The University of Southern California professor's resum as colorful and voluminous as his books - includes stints as Vatican correspondent for Hearst Newspapers, City Librarian of San Francisco, executive director of the San Francisco Taxicab Association. He is currently at work on the fourth volume in his California Dream cultural history series. "The Dream Endures" will bring the series up through the Depression era. So far, he has explored the founding generations of California in these books from Oxford University Press: "Americans and the California Dream, 1850-1915" (1973), "The Development of Southern California in Inventing the Dream: California Through the Progressive Era" (1985), and "Material Dreams: Southern California Through the 1920s" (1990).