Mirages and Myths

L.A.’s Dazzling Rise 90

By Lynell George

via L.A. Times

Most longtime Angelenos learned early to read between the lines.

Los Angeles has been both elevated and suffocated by the strength of its legends — about the promise or calamity of this place. These stories are rooted, of course, in a deep history of civic boosterism — real estate narratives, spleen-venting newspaper columns and all manner of quick-money speculators. Those enticements, while inventions, have long legs and the sort of staying power that continues to shape conversation and sense of place, both inside, and out of, city limits.

As summer wanes and waves of travelers looking for that Los Angeles — of orange crate vistas and Hollywood art direction — make their last loop, the season calls for a history refresher course about Los Angeles, this city that bloomed out of the desert.

Gary Krist’s “The Mirage Factory: Illusion, Imagination and the Invention of Los Angeles” (now in paperback), tunnels to the roots of these invention narratives, identifying the individual threads, and shows how they began to work in tandem to create a fantastic tapestry.


You can read the rest of  the review here at latimes.com

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