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Secret Stairs: A Walking Guide to the Historic Staircases of Los Angeles [Kindle Edition]

Charles Fleming
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (52 customer reviews)

Digital List Price: $12.95 What's this?
Print List Price: $16.95
Kindle Price: $9.99
You Save: $6.96 (41%)


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Kindle Edition $9.99  
Kindle Edition, April 1, 2010 $9.99  
Paperback $13.00  
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Book Description

Containing walks and detailed maps from throughout the city, Secret Stairs highlights the charms and quirks of a unique feature of the Los Angeles landscape, and chronicles the geographical, architectural, and historical aspects of the city’s staircases, as well as of the neighborhoods in which the steps are located.

From strolling through the classic La Loma neighborhood in Pasadena to walking the Sunset Junction Loop in Silver Lake, to taking the Beachwood Canyon hike through “Hollywoodland” to enjoying the magnificent ocean views from the Castellammare district in Pacific Palisades, Secret Stairs takes you on a tour of the staircases all across the City of Angels.

The circular walks, rated for duration and difficulty, deliver tales of historic homes and their fascinating inhabitants, bits of unusual local trivia, and stories of the neighborhoods surrounding the stairs. That’s where William Faulkner was living when he wrote the screenplay for To Have and Have Not; that house was designed by Neutra; over there is a Schindler; that’s where Woody Guthrie lived, where Anais Nin died, and where Thelma Todd was murdered . . .

Despite the fact that one of these staircases starred in an Oscar-winning short film—Laurel and Hardy’s The Music Box, from 1932—these civic treasures have been virtually unknown to most of the city’s residents and visitors. Now, Secret Stairs puts these hidden stairways back on the map, while introducing urban hikers to exciting new “trails” all around the city of Los Angeles.

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Charles Fleming is the author of the national bestseller High Concept: Don Simpson and the Hollywood Culture of Excess, and co-author of the New York Times bestsellers Three Weeks in October: The Manhunt for the Serial Sniper, A Goomba's Guide to Life, and My Lobotomy. A former staff writer for Newsweek, Variety, and the Los Angeles Herald-Examiner, and a frequent contributor to Vanity Fair, the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles magazine, and LA Weekly, Fleming teaches journalism at USC. He lives with his wife and two daughters in Silver Lake, California.

Product Details

  • File Size: 2980 KB
  • Print Length: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Santa Monica Press (April 1, 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B003QHYU82
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #424,803 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars time travel... April 14, 2010
What a nice book. I live in the Echo Park district of Los Angeles, and a friend suggested this book to me. I realized I had read a novel by the author a few years ago that I really enjoyed, "The Ivory Coast" a jazz/noir set in Vegas, so I picked up a copy. Now I'm planning to take the walks written about in the book. Wow. As a kid, one of my favorite "Three Stooges" was shot on a stair street. They had a job delivering ice, and Curly has a huge block of ice in tongs, and when he gets to the top, he's holding a little ice cube. What I love about L. A. is how much history and mystery exists here, particularly on the east side, and parts of Hollywood. Because it was run down over here for so long, large swaths of the east side weren't touched when all of the money moved in a little west, and few of those monstrous developments occurred; there are still little nuggets and gems you can find. My only quibble is that I would have loved pictures of the stair street, but on the other hand, the descriptions are great, and leaving the mystery makes me want to go there myself. Which I plan to.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The key to enjoying a cardio work out! April 15, 2010
In a time when most of us are worried, or at least aware, of our physical health and gyms and various work-out methods (Pilates, Spinning, Bootcamp, etc) are sprouting everywhere, Charles Fleming brings us Secret Stairs. I have had the pleasure of taking several of these walks and I am here to say that is quite the Cardio work-out. However it is not just that, these walks are filled with secret paths, discovering new neighborhoods, stunning views and once you to read this book or take one of the walks with Mr. Fleming himself (treat!) you will then have tidbits of old (and new) Hollywood secrets. So order your book and get started today!
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tons of fun! Perfect for the family. April 14, 2010
We are always looking for unique and fun things to do with our children or just on our own and this book offers both. We get to mix some fun history, good ol' exercise and family time as we seek out the next great secret stairs. Nice job Mr. Fleming.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Secret Stairs April 14, 2010
Great book, even for non-walkers like myself. I've lived in Los Angeles nearly my entire life, and I didn't know about any of the places so delightfully described in Charles Fleming's book. It's like discovering a secret wilderness in the midst of city I thought I knew so well. This is a must-read for anyone who lives here or plans to visit.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars In love with my Secret city! April 14, 2010
A round of applause for this fine book. Really helpful in discovering (rediscovering?) how magical Los Angeles can be. Great exercise, great writing and fabulous history. A must-own for LA history lovers.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Falling in Love With Los Angeles All Over Again May 11, 2010
What a wonderful book! Not only has it kick started my Springtime outdoor exercise routine, but in the three walks I've done so far, it's already taken me to parts of my very own neighborhood that I've never seen before. Many of the staircases featured in the book are historical landmarks, and feature some truly beautiful construction. But it's not just the stairs that make these described urban hikes enjoyable, it's also the writer's knack for pointing out the architectural and environmental curiosities on each walk. Strolling the quiet residential streets, I've found myself chatting and sharing portions of the hike with friendly neighborhood residents, a wayward group of German tourists, and some garrulous joggers. Walking for leisure, it seems, really makes LA seem like a community in a way it never will if only viewed rushing past your windshield. I can't wait to do the rest of the hikes in the book!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Secret Stairs April 14, 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Great book. Fun way to explore the Los Angeles area. A friend and I were planning a walking tour of central LA and this made it a lot easier.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I love secrets! January 6, 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Bought this as a 2011 Christmas gift for mom. She (75 yrs old) and I (fortyish) took our two dogs with us for walk number one. The instructions were easy to follow and the sites noted in the chapter (such as gnarly trees, cottages, putting greens) were truly amazing and still there to see. Had a fantastic lunch in Pasadena at a dog friendly cafe. It was one of the best days out we have ever experienced together. We're going to try to do one secret walk a week.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Going back to L.A. again with this book
I brought this book last summer and showed it to my high energy friend. She loved the off beaten tour of the city and we built a whole lot of laughs and memories during our... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Zen
4.0 out of 5 stars Good book
Lots of interesting stair ways to walk. Lots of history. Nice book, but I haven't gone on any of the stair hikes yet. Shame on me!
Published 2 months ago by kat rat
4.0 out of 5 stars Clear and Complete
A detailed treasure map of the stairs and sites along the way with maps. I would, however, have liked to have seen more pictures of what he is describing but maybe that was a... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Pooch
5.0 out of 5 stars Love love love
The Dalai Lama once said one should go somewhere every day that they've never been before. This book will ensure that you do exactly that. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Kathleen M. Diener
5.0 out of 5 stars Stairs walks
Every since we picked up this book we have made it a point to go on a secret stair walk once a month. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Daryl Overlock
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic!
This "insiders" book reveals a side of LA that is both intriguing and "good exercise". Read more
Published 2 months ago by Mark O'Deady
5.0 out of 5 stars Love it!
Highly detailed directions and so many great walks! It is a must if you want to learn some local history and learn some new neighborhoods.
Published 3 months ago by Book Junkie
4.0 out of 5 stars LA stairways
This well-organized book takes LA walkers to some cool haunts, particularly the piano stairway made famous in the Laurel and Hardy movie. Read more
Published 3 months ago by j g messenger
5.0 out of 5 stars Terrifical.
Who knew L.A. had so many stairs to walk? It is so much fun discovering not only these pockets of L.A. but tidbits of local lore. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Jazzmama
5.0 out of 5 stars Ups and Downs in LA
I'm one of those people who have lived in Southern California all their lives and have never really seen the landscapes or neighborhoods that surround them. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Orville Amezor
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