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The Fragmented Metropolis: Los Angeles, 1850-1930

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Here with a new preface, a new foreword, and an updated bibliography is the definitive history of Los Angeles from its beginnings as an agricultural village of fewer than 2,000 people to its emergence as a metropolis of more than 2 million in 1930—a city whose distinctive structure, character, and culture foreshadowed much of the development of urban America after World Wa Here with a new preface, a new foreword, and an updated bibliography is the definitive history of Los Angeles from its beginnings as an agricultural village of fewer than 2,000 people to its emergence as a metropolis of more than 2 million in 1930—a city whose distinctive structure, character, and culture foreshadowed much of the development of urban America after World War II.


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Here with a new preface, a new foreword, and an updated bibliography is the definitive history of Los Angeles from its beginnings as an agricultural village of fewer than 2,000 people to its emergence as a metropolis of more than 2 million in 1930—a city whose distinctive structure, character, and culture foreshadowed much of the development of urban America after World Wa Here with a new preface, a new foreword, and an updated bibliography is the definitive history of Los Angeles from its beginnings as an agricultural village of fewer than 2,000 people to its emergence as a metropolis of more than 2 million in 1930—a city whose distinctive structure, character, and culture foreshadowed much of the development of urban America after World War II.

30 review for The Fragmented Metropolis: Los Angeles, 1850-1930

  1. 5 out of 5

    Brendan Dawe

    A history of Los Angeles development. Comprehensive, and pointed

  2. 4 out of 5

    Adam Borecky

    I was seeking an answer to the question of why L.A. is the way that it is, this ridiculous, decentralized, concrete landscape so central to Southern California life. This book is one scholar's attempt to tackle this question. By dissenting the early decades of its existence, Fogelson asserts that LA's unique pattern of growth is the consequence of private business interests, the ethos of its early white American immigrants, and a collective failure of its residents to resolve their competing des I was seeking an answer to the question of why L.A. is the way that it is, this ridiculous, decentralized, concrete landscape so central to Southern California life. This book is one scholar's attempt to tackle this question. By dissenting the early decades of its existence, Fogelson asserts that LA's unique pattern of growth is the consequence of private business interests, the ethos of its early white American immigrants, and a collective failure of its residents to resolve their competing desires to become both a "great metropolis" and a "good community." At times I found that the authors political biases overwhelmed his tone of objective analysis and I occasionally felt that over-attention to detailed statistics buried is overall thesis. But all in all, the book is a brilliant analysis of the psychological and political forces that shape americas greatest cities.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Kathleen

    “As in the biography of an individual, an ‘urban biography’ tends to be most interesting when dealing with the early years, the years when identity is established and strategies for ultimate success are first attempted.”

  4. 5 out of 5

    Cora Foerstner

    I'm currently writing a novel set in 1890 Los Angeles and reading The Fragmented Metropolis: Los Angeles, 1850-1930 was part of my research. I'd planned on read up to the 1900s, but found the book engaging and finished it. Since I was born in Los Angeles and raised in the suburbs, I'd say Robert M. Fogelson captures the urban history, and his book hits the highlights and events, which shaped Los Angeles. Some of the history as well as the corruption and business influences, I knew. I didn’t know I'm currently writing a novel set in 1890 Los Angeles and reading The Fragmented Metropolis: Los Angeles, 1850-1930 was part of my research. I'd planned on read up to the 1900s, but found the book engaging and finished it. Since I was born in Los Angeles and raised in the suburbs, I'd say Robert M. Fogelson captures the urban history, and his book hits the highlights and events, which shaped Los Angeles. Some of the history as well as the corruption and business influences, I knew. I didn’t know the depth and breadth of those influences, but I wasn’t surprised. I enjoyed Fogelson's analysis, which clarified some of the early history. I’ve always wondered how the influence of the rancheros and the Mexican culture dissipated. As a young girl, I had friends from that cultural background and realized their rich history was both present and pushed to the background of popular culture. Anyone who watches the Rose Bowl Parade gets a glimpse of that heritage. My parents moved to California after WWII, and I grew up hearing their stories about the wonders of Los Angeles. I even think I have a memory of riding the trolleys; however, I was so young, I have a feeling my memory is based more on my parents’ remembrances rather than my reality. Some readers might find the book a little dry and academic, which wasn't the case for me, but I wanted to throw that out to forewarn readers. The book covers: LA's Mexican roots, which some people newer to the area don't realize or choose to forget; Southern California’s ongoing need for water sources; transportation--I've always been fascinated by stories of old timers who remember a working and extensive public transportation system, which was dismantled to "force" cars into the picture (thank you, Standard Oil, et al); public utility movement; the feud between Los Angeles and San Diego, which is interesting and rife with underhanded political and business deals; the progressive movement. When I saw pictures of the Los Angeles River in this book, I bought another book on the river. To me, the LA River has always been a trickle of water or a completely dried up concrete system, which weaves its way to the ocean. If you are interested in Los Angeles and its history, this is a great book. I strongly recommend it.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Brian

    Fragmented metropolis provides an excellent look at how Los Angeles rose from a Pueblo town to be the predominant West Coast city and one of the largest cities in the country. The development of the railroads and the municipal struggles that prevented centralized mass transit leading to the rise of the automobile are all covered here. The author is one the distinct noted urban historians in the country and despite this being his earliest work it is still a masterpiece. What has been defined as a Fragmented metropolis provides an excellent look at how Los Angeles rose from a Pueblo town to be the predominant West Coast city and one of the largest cities in the country. The development of the railroads and the municipal struggles that prevented centralized mass transit leading to the rise of the automobile are all covered here. The author is one the distinct noted urban historians in the country and despite this being his earliest work it is still a masterpiece. What has been defined as a classic of urban history showing how a city can be broken into pieces and still remain unified provides insight into the Los Angeles we know today. As an interesting side bar in this story is the comparison of San Diego to LA and how each battled it out from dominance of southern California during the time period of 1850-1930. Overall this book provides an excellent comparison of industry, demographics, local politics and business history to show how Los Angeles developed in the modern city that it would become following World War II through the actions taken in this time period. Well worth the time for those who want to take a look at an earlier yet pivotal part of Los Angeles development.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Cat

    Yes, this certainly is a classic in urban history. Fogelson succicently tells the story of Los Angeles, from it's beginnings as a Mexican backwater berg to the enormous Metropolis it became. Fogelson includes chapters on all of the important subjects: L.A. and its Mexican roots, the quest for water, the signifigance of new modes of transportation, the failure of the light water system, the development of the board, the conflict with San Diego, the public utility movement and, of course, the prog Yes, this certainly is a classic in urban history. Fogelson succicently tells the story of Los Angeles, from it's beginnings as a Mexican backwater berg to the enormous Metropolis it became. Fogelson includes chapters on all of the important subjects: L.A. and its Mexican roots, the quest for water, the signifigance of new modes of transportation, the failure of the light water system, the development of the board, the conflict with San Diego, the public utility movement and, of course, the progressive movement. Fogelson's history is academic in tone, but it's just such concise and well documented writing that you have to love it. A must for readers of Southern California history. I might add that although this was a book about L.A., the chapter on the L.A./SD conflict for Southern California supremacy was actually the best thing I've been able to dig up thus far on San Diego history! How about that, huh? I might also add that you might want to track down a first edition hardback of this book, rather then paying for this overpriced reprint. The original hardback is handsomely designed and makes a fine edition to your book shelve.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Kyle

    Living in Los Angeles, I am always wondering how the hell the place got to be the way it is. Into urban history I go: this is Fogelson's dissertation, which was apparently (according to the introduction) unconventional in studying LA rather than a traditional metropolis. I thought that was the whole point of dissertations. Anyway, the going was dry but often interesting: the chapter about the rivalry between LA and San Diego and those detailing the once-proud rail systems of the city explain how Living in Los Angeles, I am always wondering how the hell the place got to be the way it is. Into urban history I go: this is Fogelson's dissertation, which was apparently (according to the introduction) unconventional in studying LA rather than a traditional metropolis. I thought that was the whole point of dissertations. Anyway, the going was dry but often interesting: the chapter about the rivalry between LA and San Diego and those detailing the once-proud rail systems of the city explain how it became the gridlocked megalopolis it is today. I also bought into whatever "intangibles" Fogelson describes as why LA was settled so huge and so quickly—the self-fulfilling prophecy its residents have that the city is the center of the world, as if convincing themselves of this fact might make it true.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Eric

    Readers will get a kick out of Fogelson's reference to white, midwestern transplants as "native Americans," but his book is one of the best resources on the unlikely early rise of LA as a serious American city. The narrative stops short of the Watts Riots and the events that made the city unique in modern American history, but it's a fascinating look at how LA, and Southern California, evolved from a Spanish, then Mexican, then American idyll. He addresses many of the issues surrounding housing Readers will get a kick out of Fogelson's reference to white, midwestern transplants as "native Americans," but his book is one of the best resources on the unlikely early rise of LA as a serious American city. The narrative stops short of the Watts Riots and the events that made the city unique in modern American history, but it's a fascinating look at how LA, and Southern California, evolved from a Spanish, then Mexican, then American idyll. He addresses many of the issues surrounding housing covenants, water resources, and economic factors that can be easily overlooked when thinking about the city.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Lyn Jensen

    P. 210: discussing the Los Angeles Republican party in 1900, "it has a very corrupt element--an insidious kind of corruption not that of out and out rascals such as we have who give themselves away every time, but smooth lawyers, church-tending merchants and all that." ... "The best men could not be induced to enter ... packed caucuses, primaries and conventions," one [reformer] recalled, "and the men who wanted office badly enough to do so, and who had to sell their souls to a political boss to P. 210: discussing the Los Angeles Republican party in 1900, "it has a very corrupt element--an insidious kind of corruption not that of out and out rascals such as we have who give themselves away every time, but smooth lawyers, church-tending merchants and all that." ... "The best men could not be induced to enter ... packed caucuses, primaries and conventions," one [reformer] recalled, "and the men who wanted office badly enough to do so, and who had to sell their souls to a political boss to secure nominations, were usually no better than the people who tolerated such conditions deserved."

  10. 5 out of 5

    Meg

    While it doesn't really argue this, the book basically presents a history of Los Angeles that shows the ways in which private, profit-seeking interests shaped to city to meet their demands without taking into account public goods or public needs. This includes railroad monopolists using their sway to make sure that the LA port, inferior to the one down in San Diego, became the main port in Southern CA, simply to maintain profit for their railroads by in fact maintaining San Francisco's status as While it doesn't really argue this, the book basically presents a history of Los Angeles that shows the ways in which private, profit-seeking interests shaped to city to meet their demands without taking into account public goods or public needs. This includes railroad monopolists using their sway to make sure that the LA port, inferior to the one down in San Diego, became the main port in Southern CA, simply to maintain profit for their railroads by in fact maintaining San Francisco's status as the dominant port for the whole state. The result: an LA fragmented around given centers of wealth and business interests, and not really designed for people to truly live in at all.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Joshua

    My good buddy CatDirt recommended this book to me and it did not let me down. Great to know about certain historical significances in my hometown. The book is well written, at times it gets a little heavy on facts, but I liked it none the less. Yay Los Angeles.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Ann

    Development of Los Angeles, notably how the excellent streetcar system was supplanted by automobiles.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Patrick

    Found this at Village Bookstore in Long Beach recently...pretty good through the first couple of chapters...

  14. 5 out of 5

    Liza

  15. 5 out of 5

    Nori

  16. 5 out of 5

    Liv

  17. 4 out of 5

    Alex

  18. 5 out of 5

    Chris Clark

  19. 5 out of 5

    Nathan Koci

  20. 4 out of 5

    Rocky

  21. 5 out of 5

    John Von kerczek

  22. 5 out of 5

    Jesús

  23. 4 out of 5

    Chad T

  24. 4 out of 5

    Carol

  25. 4 out of 5

    Katherine

  26. 4 out of 5

    Eric

  27. 4 out of 5

    Demetrius

  28. 4 out of 5

    Jaak Treiman

  29. 5 out of 5

    Alexander Wells

  30. 4 out of 5

    Adam Barnhart

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