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Los Angeles in Maps Hardcover – October 19, 2010
30 of the World's Greatest Historical City Maps
A beautifully illustrated history of the world's most celebrated historical city maps, from the hubs of ancient civilization to sprawling modern mega-cities, created in association with the Smithsonian Institution. Learn more
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About the Author
D. J. Waldie is the author of the California Book Award–winner Holy Land: A Suburban Memoir.
Joe Linton is an artist, writer, and activist living in Los Angeles.
Morgan Yates is corporate archivist at the Auto Club of Southern California and works in Los Angeles.
Top Customer Reviews
The earliest charts show a few settlements scattered in blank spaces, a Spanish rancho, or a few hills the total of what can be filled in such terrain. The true natives, soon erased, rarely gain representation; Jo Mora's exuberant 1940s maps celebrated the Indian-Mexican-Early Californian romance that sold more lots in dusty chaparral than perhaps even tickets to movies and festivals that also mythologized such scenes.
Water lines, transportation, and utilities imprint their own overlays, as the remote ranchos turn into subdivisions named after the natural features and early outposts they obliterated. Pragmatism rather than beauty, Creason comments, impelled the patterns of the city, as highways and then freeways followed the rivers, rails, and pioneer trails to track the 20th century's explosive growth.
Colorful charts often enliven what might have been in other cities a drearier duty of detail. Somehow, even a reservoir or a housing tract looks cheerier with an exotic street name or meandering lane around canyons and parks.
Such depictions speckle the margins of more than one map.Read more ›
As Vinny would say, "It's a dandy."
The maps capture the tapestry of LA history in ways no other medium could manage, but it's Glen Creason's masterful synthesis of the quilt pieces that renders this book a concerto of what dazzles and intrigues us about this city.
Mr. Creason, you have such a strong, sure voice. Thank you for singing so splendidly of our hometown's eras and neighborhoods.
Written by LA Public Library archivist Glen Creason, who clearly has access to some wonderful resources, this book is informative and entertaining in equal measure. I've heard people say that LA has no history, a rather arrogant assertion that has no basis in fact. LA's history is right there if you've got the eyes to see it, written into the landscape, as this book shows in great detail.
The maps reproduced here cover most of the recorded history of the region, and show the various geographical features of the LA basin and the surrounding area, from topographical maps to the early pueblo layout to the locations of the oil fields. The quality of printing is very good, with the maps rendered in sharp detail on very good quality paper, with each map featuring at least a page of accompanying text putting the map in context and describing its genesis.
It's not without its flaws; the proof reader must have been asleep, as there are quite a few errors - on the very first map page Harriman's name gets transposed to "Harrington" by the end of the page, and later on we're told that in 1928 Los Angeles harbor handled "26.5 tons" of cargo, "a record which stood for decades". 26.5 tons! That's out by a factor of a million. Also although the printing is very sharp, some of the maps are printed across the folio, so it's sometimes hard to make out detail across the page crease. I'd also liked to have seen more maps of the fault lines across the county; it is after all a major earthquake zone and fault lines are a very important feature of the region.
Still, these are minor quibbles.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book is a wonderful collection of historic LA maps with thoughtful essays. Highly recommended.Published 12 months ago by rollerskate76
Got this for my boyfriend for Christmas and he loves it. I asked him what he loves about it and he says "10 out of 10." I guess it's indescribably good!Published 18 months ago by melissa
Bought this book as a gift for a friend who is from SoCal. He really enjoyed it!Published 20 months ago by R. A. Pennington
This is a fun and insightful look into the history and evolution of Los Angeles through maps of the city. Read morePublished on April 14, 2013 by Christina Rice
I thought this book was going to be full of legible maps, but there are mostly just small maps and lots of narrative. Sigh...Published on March 4, 2013 by C. Ionita
This is an amazing book that shows how Los Angeles has changed and, really, how it has stayed the same. Read morePublished on June 23, 2012 by Marimello
I thought that the print was much to small for easy reading of the maps. A magnifying glass should be included with this book.Published on February 17, 2012 by Dave
Like the song says, I love LA. This book helps me to understand it and love it more. Tremendous collection of maps and superb writing.Published on June 29, 2011 by Tim Kirk