City of Dreams: Dodger Stadium and the Birth of Modern Los Angeles

Jerald Podair


Book Description | Table of Contents | Chapter 1 [In PDF Format]



Additional Reviews

"By 1956, the owner of the Brooklyn Dodgers, Walter O'Malley, was a frustrated man. The rival New York Yankees, from a 67,000-seat stadium in the Bronx, ruled Major League Baseball. The Boston Braves had just moved to Milwaukee and increased home attendance by 600% -- dramatically boosting their revenue and their advantage in the quest for talent. Decrepit Ebbets Field, by contrast, had only 32,000 seats, making it one of the smallest ballparks in the majors. O'Malley knew he needed a new stadium to compete. How "O'Malley came by that new stadium is vividly recounted in Jerald Podair's City of Dreams: Dodger Stadium and the Birth of Modern Los Angeles. It's the tale of how the fight to bring the Dodgers west transformed not only Major League Baseball but Southern California as well, determining what kind of city 20th-century Los Angeles would be. . . . Podair is right to see this as a critical moment in Los Angeles's history and is a sure-footed guide through the political fight."---John Buntin, Wall Street Journal

"Podair has written an exhaustive, thoroughly researched and fair-minded account."--Henry D. Fetter, History News Network

"The book brings to vivid life the inside story of the fight over Dodger Stadium while laying bare the intricacies of political life in a big city."--Kelsey Harrison, New York Labor History blog

"City of Dreams offers an L.A. version of a larger dilemma facing American cities: how to reconcile private gain in Downtown centers with public good in the city as a whole."--Darryl Holter, Los Angeles Review of Books


Additional Endorsements

"When the Dodgers left Brooklyn, their troubles had just begun. Jerald Podair's account of the Los Angeles end of the story superbly chronicles the fierce collisions that ensued, pitting private power against the public good. The creation of Dodger Stadium also created modern Los Angeles, which makes this book an indispensable contribution to the history of modern urban America."--Sean Wilentz, Princeton University

"What is the price of a game? What is it worth to a city and its residents to boast a professional sports franchise? These questions need to be answered--but seldom are—before urban leaders make deals to build stadiums, often with staggering implications for their cities. City of Dreams is required reading for anyone who cares about how our sports obsession affects the urban landscape."--Randy Roberts, coauthor of Blood Brothers: The Fatal Friendship Between Muhammad Ali and Malcolm X

"City of Dreams documents the steep social price Los Angeles paid when, fifty years ago, its power elite used the highly subsidized Dodger Stadium to launch the city into modernity. To what ends and to whose benefit? Podair asks. Hard questions, indeed, that other American cities with subsidized stadiums are asking too."--Kevin Starr, University of Southern California

"A brilliant reconstruction of the battle over Dodger Stadium, City of Dreams is a vivid and indispensable story about baseball and the making of modern urban America."--Gary Gerstle, author of Liberty and Coercion: The Paradox of American Government from the Founding to the Present

"There's a real need for this book. There is no other go-to source on the story of Dodger Stadium in the history of Los Angeles, a subject that offers a fascinating look at midcentury L.A. Jerald Podair helps us understand a complex story of urban vision, sports, politics, and public-private tug of war, offering a corrective to much folklore, hyperbole, and misinformation."--William Deverell, coauthor of Water and Los Angeles: A Tale of Three Rivers, 1900–1941


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