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The San Fernando Valley: America's Suburb Paperback – August 1, 2001


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Los Angeles Times; Second Printing November 2002 edition (August 1, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 188379255X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1883792558
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 10.9 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #177,774 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Kevin Roderick came to the subject of the San Fernando Valley both as a curious journalist and as a product himself of the suburbs. He grew up in Northridge, roaming the tracts of newly minted neighborhoods that came into being in the 1950s and 1960s. After attending James Monroe High School and studying the craft of journalism at California State University, Northridge, he went to work for the Los Angeles Times as a cub reporter covering the Valley. His career path steered him into other reporting endeavors and the newspaper’s senior editor ranks, but the untold stories of the Valley always beckoned. Roderick is currently the Los Angeles bureau chief for The Industry Standard magazine and lives in Santa Monica, Calif.

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Customer Reviews

Much of the photos will make you say " I remember that!"
Pooldude
I enjoyed the book so much that I called a friend to read favorite passages aloud, and I sent him the book when I finished it.
shuttledude
Having grown up in the San Fernando Valley I was interested in this book.
jcgsings

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Donna R. Mills on May 10, 2002
Format: Paperback
With this book, Kevin Roderick has done what many have thought is impossible: He proves that the Valley really is *interesting* after all. From the wonderful photos to the stories of the men whose names became our streets and boulevards, Roderick puts the development of our many communities into perspective. I could not put this book down - there were so many fascinating tidbits I'd never known (like Nikita Khruschev's visit to my Granada Hills neighborhood when it was just a fledgling housing development -- or exactly where Lucy and Desi lived -- or that Birmingham High was once the location of an Army hospital). I made the mistake of lending the book to a realtor friend and am now buying myself a new copy because he's not ready to give it back.
Anyone who has ever spent time here -- especially those of us who grew up here -- will enjoy this book.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By "littleghost" on December 28, 2002
Format: Paperback
This book is an engaging treat and an enlightening eye-opener for anyone who has ever lived in the Valley (especially for those of us who grew up here). Kevin Roderick reveals the Valley's history through a combination of well-researched prose and historical photographs which say even more than the words do. By the time you finish this book, you're almost saddened by the present state of the Valley because Mr. Roderick has illustrated just how beautiful and inviting this sunny prarie used to be, why it appealed to so many immigrants and developers, and how lovely it could have been. The timing of this book's release is noteworthy, too: it appeared in stores just before the movement for the Valley's possible secession from the City of Los Angeles appeared on the November 2002 ballots.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Pooldude on March 12, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As someone who was born and raised in the valley, this book is a great look at the history of the San Fernando Valley from the pioneers who settled it on to modern day. Contains many wonderful photos as well. A fine read for anyone living here who would like to discover a little of it's past and for those of us born and raised here it is an essential look back on the place we call home. Much of the photos will make you say " I remember that!" It did for me upon seeing Lucy and Desi in their home which was located at Devonshire and Tampa and is now a gated housing complex. I grew up in the Porter Ranch area and that home and land are always part of my memories of the area.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By David Shapiro on March 19, 2002
Format: Paperback
I just moved to the Valley from Dallas a few months ago. I was very curious about the history and the people of the SFV. The book really does a great job about telling the history of the SFV without putting your to sleep. The pictures in the book are very clear and well formatted in the book. I also liked the part of the book were it gives you facts about the time period in the grey boxes. I also showed the book to a women who has lived in the SFV her whole like and she found it very useful. This book is a great coffee table book for someone who lives in the SFV.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By H. D. Espinosa on July 15, 2007
Format: Paperback
During my stay in the United States more than a year and half ago, while doing my errands, I happened to arrive at the end of the MTA Orange Line bus on its westbound extremity, in a station called "Warner Center". I jumped out of the bus and started strolling with no specific purpose in mind. Seriously, this place I've arrived at has absolutely no touristic appeal at all. Not much people walking around, traffic wasn't intense (I guess this was because it was around 10 in the morning - the rush to work was over), green yards, large boulevards and peacefulness all across. Definitely, this was not a typical Los Angeles neighborhood like Hollywood, Echo Park, Eagle Rock and Venice, much less like South L.A. and Watts. What I saw was a world apart not so far away from the "original L.A." mess, though this was also a Los Angeles neighborhood, with a different atmosphere, aiming constantly to reach perfection.

Even missing that touristic appeal, I thought this was the best spot I've been in during my Southern California trip. No kidding. Laugh at me if you want to. Even the paradisiac beaches which were so close to me wasn't that special. The impact of being at SFV hit hard on me. I know this place has the typical problems that any other major area also has, but it's still enchanting. This fascination led me to purchase this book so I could learn more about it.

Just finished reading the book and my advice is:

This book is simply a "must-have" for every Southern California native or lover who wants to know about the history of San Fernando Valley. Kevin Rodnick did an excellent job describing nicely and in chronological order the happenings that made this once empty space where Spaniards settled in the 1700s the most representative icon of the America's suburb and a - why not - peaceful refuge in the so-troubled Los Angeles area today.

Get it!
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Colin Shanahan on April 23, 2003
Format: Paperback
I have lived in the San Fernado Valley my whole life and have only left this great place for no more than a month at a time. After reading this book, i have a newfound apprecaition and love for this 'burb of Los Angeles. The only thing lacking in this book is pictures of the valley from the 60's to the present. Otherwise its a great book. I just wish that the LA Times had allowed more of their pictures to be included in this book.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By K. Dennison on August 9, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Very enjoyable. I grew up in the west end of the San Fernando Valley; Van Nuys to Canoga Park. A good friend's grandfather was William Paul Whitsett. She would tell me interesting stories about him. It saddens me to see the condition of the Valley now. I remember the orange groves and horse ranches, but now nothing but houses, houses, houses. Can't go home again, but this book takes me back to a better time and place.
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