Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Review of "City of Dreams"

This book was a fascinating look into the politics and the obstacles that Walter O'Malley faced when he moved the Brooklyn Dodgers to Los Angeles. It contained a lot of information that I was not aware of and it got more and more interesting as the saga of the building of Dodger Stadium continued.  Here is my review of "City of Angels"



Title/Author:
“City of Dreams: Dodger Stadium and the Birth of Modern Los Angeles” by Jerald Podair

Tags:
Baseball, history, Dodgers, politics

Publish date:
April 4, 2017

Length:
384 pages

Rating: 
5 of 5 stars (outstanding)

Review:
When the Brooklyn Dodgers moved to Los Angeles following the 1957 baseball season, little did anyone predict the long protracted process it would take for owner Walter O’Malley to construct Dodger Stadium.  That process, with all of the political battles and conflicting visions of what type of city Los Angeles would be with the new ballpark, is captured in this well-written and balanced book by Jerald Podair. 

Every step of the process from the announcement that the Dodgers were moving to Los Angeles to the opening of Dodger Stadium in 1962 is covered from many points of view.  All of the various disputes that O’Malley encountered from citizens, local politicians or other officials are discussed in a manner that presents all sides of the argument fairly and offers some facts to dispute some myths, such as stating that despite the popular belief, it was not Walter O’Malley that ordered the eviction of residents from Chavez Ravine to make way for the ballpark.

Information that is new to the reader may be surprising, such as the amount of rent that the team had to pay the organization that ran the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum as that was the location for the team from 1958 to 1961. The court battles for Proposition B, the case by a family who wanted to keep its residence in Chavez Ravine and the dispute over building the roads to provide access to the ballpark are just a few of the topics covered in great detail in this book. These details are key to presenting this balanced picture of these events and because of them, it is a book that must be read slowly and carefully in order to absorb all of the information.

Readers who are interested in learning about the building of Dodger Stadium, as well as the team, the city of Los Angeles or even just a glimpse into the political conversations at the time will enjoy this book. 


I wish to thank Princeton University Press for providing an advance review copy of the book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Book Format Read:
E-book (Kindle)

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