A rich mosaic of diary entries and letters from the likes of Marilyn Monroe and James Dean, F. Scott Fitzgerald and Susan Sontag, Albert Einstein, Cesar Chavez, Joan Rivers, and many more, this is the story of Los Angeles as told by locals, transplants, and some just passing through.
The City of Angels has played a distinct role in the hearts, minds, and imaginations of millions of people, who see it as the ultimate symbol of the American Dream. David Kipen, a cultural historian and avid scholar of Los Angeles, has scoured libraries, archives, and private estates to assemble a kaleidoscopic view of a truly unique city.
From the Spanish missionary expeditions in the early 1500s to the Golden Age of Hollywood to the strange new world of social media, this collection is a slice of life in L.A. through the years. The pieces are arranged by date—January 1st to December 31st—featuring selections from different decades and centuries. What emerges is a vivid tapestry of insights, personal discoveries, and wry observations that together distill the essence of the city.
As sprawling and magical as the city itself, Dear Los Angeles is a fascinating, must-have collection for everyone in, from, or touched by Southern California.
With excerpts from the writing of Ray Bradbury Edgar Rice Burroughs Octavia E. Butler Italo Calvino Winston Churchill NoEl Coward Simone De Beauvoir T. S. Eliot William Faulkner Lawrence Ferlinghetti Richard Feynman Allen Ginsberg Dashiell Hammett Charlton Heston Zora Neale Hurston Christopher Isherwood John Lennon H. L. Mencken AnaIs Nin Sylvia Plath Ronald Reagan James Thurber Dalton Trumbo Evelyn Waugh Tennessee Williams P. G. Wodehouse and many more
Praise for Dear Los Angeles
"This book's a brilliant constellation, spread out over a few centuries and five thousand square miles. Each tiny entry pins the reality of the great unreal city of Angels to a moment in human time—moments enthralled, appalled, jubilant, suffering, gossiping or bragging—and it turns out, there's no better way to paint a picture of the place."—Jonathan Lethem
"A Los Angeles native and lion of the city's literary culture gathers writers' impressions of the City of Angels from across several centuries. . . . Like the city itself, the book mashes wildly diverse sources into an intriguing and surprising whole."—Kirkus Reviews