Three superb and fresh reads about Los Angeles

Downtown with the newly re-minted 6th Street Viaduct – Source: (Allen J. Schauben)

The following three recently published books, strive to enlighten anyone wishing to learn more about Los Angeles as they attempt to explain this mighty 21st Century city in uniquely different ways.

The first, The Mirage Factory: Illusion, Imagination, and the Invention of Los Angeles, was published in 2019. It sets about describing three larger-than-life personalities who helped lay the building blocks that turned sleepy Los Angeles into today’s modern megacity.


Link – The Mirage Factory………..Link – Everything Now………..Link – Freewaytopia

*A small commission is earned from purchases that are made using the above links to Amazon. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.


Secondly, Everything Now: Lessons From the City-State of Los Angeles, explorers the city and its hinterlands on an interpersonal street level from the wealthy elites residing in Malibu to the destitute seeking out a meager living on Skid Row. It was published in 2021.

Lastly, Freewaytopia: How Freeways Shaped Los Angeles, was published in 2021 and describes how the city’s quintessential freeway network helped shape Los Angeles into our perception of endless concrete ribbons, often associated with it even today.

All three are excellent and captivating books that anyone would enjoy reading. Whether the authors are successful in adding clarity to the often unexplainable is largely up to the reader. As is often referenced throughout much of Everything Now, Los Angeles largely defies explanation. It can be a city, a climate, a mega-region, a city of dreams, a city of desire, a city of inequality, a city of fame and fortune, and a city of the lost and lonely…despite having 15 million neighbors.

“For my part, it [Los Angeles] is the only place in the United States where I can stand anywhere and feel like I am in the middle of everything, and also like I am nowhere at all.”

Rosecrans Baldwin – “Everything Now”

One thing is for sure. These three books will certainly introduce readers to the width and breadth of mighty Los Angeles. If that entity, however you define it, resists a simple explanation, then so be it. For that may be one of the LA’s most endearing and enduring qualities. An undefinable city. Hmmm…?


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