Los Angeles in the 1930s: The WPA Guide to the City of Angels

Los Angeles in the 1930s: The WPA Guide to the City of Angels

Los Angeles in the 1930s: The WPA Guide to the City of Angels

Los Angeles in the 1930s: The WPA Guide to the City of Angels

Synopsis

Los Angeles in the 1930s returns to print an invaluable document of Depression-era Los Angeles, illuminating a pivotal moment in L.A.'s history, when writers like Raymond Chandler, Nathanael West, and F. Scott Fitzgerald were creating the images and associations--and the mystique--for which the City of Angels is still known. Many books in one, Los Angeles in the 1930s is both a genial guide and an addictively readable history, revisiting the Spanish colonial period, the Mexican period, the brief California Republic, and finally American sovereignty. It is also a compact coffee table book of dazzling monochrome photography. These whose haunting visions suggest the city we know today and illuminate the booms and busts that marked L.A.'s past and continue to shape its future.

Excerpt

A guide book to Los Angeles could not logically be limited to the corporate city, far-flung as it is. So limited it would cover San Fernando Mission and omit Mission San Gabriel, godmother of Los Angeles Pueblo; it would also eliminate the beaches and the mountain and desert resorts associated with the city’s recreational life. For this reason, and because greater Los Angeles is pretty much a unit—economically as well as geographically—the area bounded by Malibu, Palm Springs, the beaches, and the mountain resorts has been described in this book.

From the gathering of the first field notes to the last mark of a blue pencil, the guide was constructed by a staff working under a cooperative arrangement. With few exceptions, no one person is responsible for the accuracy or mode of expression of any single page. One staff of workers has painstakingly poured over research material in libraries, interviewed many persons of various interests and occupations, covered hundreds of miles of highway and set down what was learned by personal observation. Another staff has checked and rechecked the work of the research staff. A third has written and rewritten the field material, shaping it into the final pattern.

The aim has been to present Los Angeles truthfully and objectively, neither glorifying it nor vilifying it. For many decades the city has suffered from journalistic superficiality; it has been lashed as a city of sin and cranks; it has also been strangled beneath a damp blanket of unrestrained eulogy. The book shows Los Angeles as a composite, a significant city, the fifth largest in the United States.

For their generous aid and co-operation in the making of this book the editors wish to express their appreciation to the staffs of the Los Angeles Public Library, the Los Angeles County Library, the Los Angeles Museum of History, Science and Art, the Southwest Museum . . .

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