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The City of Dreams


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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix Preface: Opening Day In Los Angeles xi 1 Roads West 1 2 Walter O'Malley's Los Angeles 25 3 Fighting the Dodger Deal 51 4 The Referendum 91 5 In the Courts 127 6 Whose Land? 153 7 The Arechiga Dispossessions 181 8 Private Gain, Public Good? The Business of Baseball in Los Angeles 201 9 Building the Dodger Stadium Experience 233 10 The Rise of Sam Yorty 263 11 The Modern Stadium 279 Epilogue: Dodger Stadium And Modern Los Angeles 307 Notes 313 Bibliography 345 Index 353

About the Author

Jerald Podair is professor of history and the Robert S. French Professor of American Studies at Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin. He is the author of The Strike That Changed New York and Bayard Rustin: American Dreamer. He is a recipient of the Allan Nevins Prize, awarded by the Society of American Historians for "literary distinction in the writing of history."


"By 1956, the owner of the Brooklyn Dodgers, Walter O'Malley, was a frustrated man. The rival New York Yankees, from a 67,000-seat stadium in the Bronx, ruled Major League Baseball. The Boston Braves had just moved to Milwaukee and increased home attendance by 600% -- dramatically boosting their revenue and their advantage in the quest for talent. Decrepit Ebbets Field, by contrast, had only 32,000 seats, making it one of the smallest ballparks in the majors. O'Malley knew he needed a new stadium to compete. How "O'Malley came by that new stadium is vividly recounted in Jerald Podair's City of Dreams: Dodger Stadium and the Birth of Modern Los Angeles. It's the tale of how the fight to bring the Dodgers west transformed not only Major League Baseball but Southern California as well, determining what kind of city 20th-century Los Angeles would be... Podair is right to see this as a critical moment in Los Angeles's history and is a sure-footed guide through the political fight."---John Buntin, Wall Street Journal "Careful research and straightforward prose make this an excellent introduction [to the history of Dodger Stadium]."--Publishers Weekly "A thoughtful new book."--Christopher Hawthorne, Los Angeles Times "City of Dreams ... has a number of strengths... [T]he research is deep [and] Podair ... avoids taking sides."--Nicholas Evan Sarantakes, Real Clear Books "Like the city fathers stealing water from the Owens Valley in Chinatown, the Dodgers' move west has become American lore... As with most based-on-true-events stories coming out of Los Angeles, this one bears little resemblance to historical fact, and Jerald Podair sets the record straight here. Podair is a historian at Lawrence University, uninterested in polemics or dramatics; his eye is on bigger things. With exhaustive documentation he takes us through every step of the Dodgers' move west... If one wanted only to learn the real story of the Dodgers' move west, City of Dreams would be well worth reading. But the battle over Dodger Stadium also has lessons as a microcosm of American politics... [It] was a battle for the soul of Los Angeles, and Podair shows how this conflict goes all the way back to Hamilton and Jefferson, and is part of the American DNA."--Marshall Goldberg, Weekly Standard "Podair has written an exhaustive, thoroughly researched and fair-minded account."--Henry D. Fetter, History News Network "The book brings to vivid life the inside story of the fight over Dodger Stadium while laying bare the intricacies of political life in a big city."--Kelsey Harrison, New York Labor History blog "City of Dreams offers an L.A. version of a larger dilemma facing American cities: how to reconcile private gain in Downtown centers with public good in the city as a whole."--Darryl Holter, Los Angeles Review of Books "[An] excellent new book."--Alexander Nazaryan, Newsweek

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