The southern California coast has been a favored place to live for nearly 12,000 years. Dotted with marshes, estuaries, cliffs, and open beaches, with islands and mountains lying nearby, the area is rich in resources. How humans have fit into this ecological diverse and ever-changing landscape is a constant theme in the prehistory of the region. Using comparative studies of island and coastal cultures from the Pacific, the authors show how the study of southern California's past can enlighten us about coastal adaptations worldwide. Drawing on sources from anthropology, ethnohistory, geoscience, and archaeology, their findings are presented in a readable fashion that will make Islanders and Mainlanders of interest not only to a wide range of scholars but to the general public as well. Jeffrey H. Altschul is President and Donn R. Grenda is Director of the California Office of Statistical Research, Inc., a cultural resource management consulting firm. Both have been extremely active in southern California archaeology, working on sites on the mainland and the Channel Islands.