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Los Angeles in Maps Hardcover – October 19, 2010

4.3 out of 5 stars 20 customer reviews

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Great City Maps by DK
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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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Glen Creason is map librarian at the Los Angeles Public Library and co-curator of the landmark exhibition L.A. Unfolded: Maps from the Los Angeles Public Library.

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.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Rizzoli; First Edition edition (October 19, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0847833917
  • ISBN-13: 978-0847833917
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 0.9 x 10.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #408,429 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By John L Murphy TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on October 19, 2010
Format: Hardcover
This large format book is no coffee table artifact. A lively text by the Los Angeles Public Library's map archivist, Glen Creason, along with an introduction by fellow native D. J. Waldie, with contributions by Dydia DeLyser, Joe Linton, William J. Warren, and Morgan P. Yates, attests to the diligence with which this compendium, one in a handsome series by Rizzoli, documents how cartography sold the world a vision of sunny L.A. Artistic maps, lavishly and perhaps misleadingly illustrated, spurred millions to dream about--and often move to--the sprawling City of the Angels.

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.
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Would have given this book 5 and a half stars but it wasn't bigger than my coffee table. Loved the intro. Loved the commentary on all of the maps. Loved the maps. Well researched and well written. Anyone with any interest in LA history needs to own this book. It is essential. The author is clearly a great researcher, an expert on maps, and a lover of Los Angeles history. If you are into the history of one of the United State's most mysterious cities, you must own this book.
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I've now meandered the avenues of "Los Angeles in Maps," breathed breezes on its palm-bordered lanes, plan to revisit soon.
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.
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This book has all kinds of really cool maps and shows the incredible history of Los Angeles through a number of historical, detailed, not so detailed and colorful maps. It is well-written and had me gazing at it for hours. This is as good as it gets if you want to know how the great city of Los Angeles was planned and how it evolved to the city it is today. I am impressed and I think you will be too. It is well worth the money!
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A great concept, much anticipated, especially after reading the rave reviews, but the maps are much too small, even with a magnifying glass, to fully enjoy. Cases in point: a beautiful 1909 birdseye view originally 72" x 38" reduced to 12"x 8", and an 1884 map of central L.A. reduced from 35" x 26" to less than 9" x 7". If you're satisfied with the historical texts, fine, but if you were expecting maps with readable details, this is not a book for you.
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This beautiful book is the perfect gift for the cartographer, map or Los Angeles enthusiast in your life! Top-notch bookmaking (highest quality paper, embossed cover) highlights the art of the maps - the maps themselves offer a historical journey through the development of Los Angeles and surrounding environs. I thought the tome expensive until I received it - it is well worth the price and I couldn't be more pleased with such a unique offering! BRAVO to Mr. Creason on his research and writing...
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I first heard about this book from the LA Times and it sounded right up my street - it's about my favourite town, and I love maps. Double bingo!

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.
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