Provocative, essential reading for students of California history.



A well-known tale of racial injustice given a fresh look by sportswriter Nusbaum.

The construction of Dodger Stadium is an epic well known in the history of Southern California. The author digs deep to find stories from the canyon where the stadium was built, a place made by Mexican and Mexican American families who were covenanted out of other neighborhoods in Los Angeles. The early residents could climb the hill above the canyon and see the skyline of a growing metropolis whose new City Hall appeared “like an arrow pointing upwards to the infinite possibilities of Southern California—or perhaps like a giant middle finger aimed directly at [them].” When the 101, a multilane major highway, was built, the isolation was complete—until, when the Brooklyn Dodgers moved across the country, the three neighborhoods of Chavez Ravine were deemed an ideal spot for a stadium. Nusbaum charts the course of what happened next, as neighbors banded together and activists set about agitating for their rights, all to no avail, and with jail sentences for some. One aspect of the story is that, a decade before the Dodgers arrived, the area was slated for modernist public housing, but the project was shelved in a Cold War era in which such utopian enterprises smacked of communism. Instead, capitalism won out: Deeds were bought and sold, properties condemned, construction companies and developers enriched. A nice twist, as Nusbaum writes toward the end of his illuminating narrative, is that barely anything seemed to go right as the stadium was going up. With the passage of time, the communities of Palo Verde, La Loma, and Bishop faded from memory. “Baseball may have mystical powers, but it cannot erase the past,” writes the author near the end. “It cannot redeem us.” That’s just right, and Nusbaum does good work by reminding readers of what was lost in the name of municipal bragging rights.

Provocative, essential reading for students of California history.

Pub Date: March 24, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5417-4221-5

Page Count: 352

Publisher: PublicAffairs

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...


Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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Bernstein and Woodward, the two Washington Post journalists who broke the Big Story, tell how they did it by old fashioned seat-of-the-pants reporting — in other words, lots of intuition and a thick stack of phone numbers. They've saved a few scoops for the occasion, the biggest being the name of their early inside source, the "sacrificial lamb" H**h Sl**n. But Washingtonians who talked will be most surprised by the admission that their rumored contacts in the FBI and elsewhere never existed; many who were telephoned for "confirmation" were revealing more than they realized. The real drama, and there's plenty of it, lies in the private-eye tactics employed by Bernstein and Woodward (they refer to themselves in the third person, strictly on a last name basis). The centerpiece of their own covert operation was an unnamed high government source they call Deep Throat, with whom Woodward arranged secret meetings by positioning the potted palm on his balcony and through codes scribbled in his morning newspaper. Woodward's wee hours meetings with Deep Throat in an underground parking garage are sheer cinema: we can just see Robert Redford (it has to be Robert Redford) watching warily for muggers and stubbing out endless cigarettes while Deep Throat spills the inside dope about the plumbers. Then too, they amass enough seamy detail to fascinate even the most avid Watergate wallower — what a drunken and abusive Mitchell threatened to do to Post publisher Katherine Graham's tit, and more on the Segretti connection — including the activities of a USC campus political group known as the Ratfuckers whose former members served as a recruiting pool for the Nixon White House. As the scandal goes public and out of their hands Bernstein and Woodward seem as stunned as the rest of us at where their search for the "head ratfucker" has led. You have to agree with what their City Editor Barry Sussman realized way back in the beginning — "We've never had a story like this. Just never."

Pub Date: June 18, 1974

ISBN: 0671894412

Page Count: 372

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Oct. 10, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 1974

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