woensdag 9 augustus 2017

City Of Dreams: Review

If you love contemporary Los Angeles history and the intricacies of city politics AND our Dodgers, welcome to 'City of Dreams: Dodger Stadium and the birth of modern Los Angeles' by Jerald Podair.

The move of O'Malley's Brooklyn Dodgers wasn't a smooth deal. The team was forced to move by Robert Moses and met with cheers but also boos in LA. Podair meticulously weaves the story of the political web O'Malley had to conquer in LA. Politics, he soon learned, were very different from his home New York City.
While most of LA was happy with the arrival of the team, many people were not happy with the deal. A privately owned stadium would primarily be a good deal for O'Malley some said. Others saw the stadium as an asset. The beginning of the forming of a new Los Angeles. With a downtown where you could stay after office hours.
The Proposition B referendum was an important news item for months and Chavez Ravine was awaiting the verdict.

The period leading to the referendum reads like a court room novel. Hearings, pro and con groups, drama! The biggest issues were the use of public investment for a private ballclub and the question if a ballclub would serve a public purpose. Chavez Ravine was designated for public use, hence the problem. There was also the fact that the Ravine was still home to some families who weren’t easily swayed to leave to make room for baseball. If you never came around to read about the Chavez Ravine evictions, this book contains a good disquisition.

One sentence near the end of the book gives a good summary: "Given Los Angeles's progressive-influenced political structure, O'Malley's succes in constructing Dodger Stadium becomes all the more impressive."

It's a very wel researched and relatively accessible book. I never knew the arrival of the Dodgers in LA had such a difficult start. But as we all know by now, it didn’t take long fort he team to become the sweathearts of Los Angeles and Dodger Stadium in fact was the start of the city becoming what it is today.
You do have to have an interest in politics and history besides a love for the Dodgers. So, this book is not for everyone.