Founded in 1957, the Southern California suburb prophetically named City of Industry today represents, in the words of Victor Valle, "The gritty crossroads of the global trade revolution that is transforming Southern California factories into warehouses, and adjacent working class communities into economic and environmental sacrifice zones choking on cheap goods and carcinogenic diesel exhaust."City of Industry is a stunning exposé on the construction of corporate capitalist spaces.
Valle investigated an untapped archive of Industry's built landscape, media coverage, and public records, including sealed FBI reports, to uncover a cascading series of scandals. A kaleidoscopic view of the corruption that resulted when local land owners, media barons, and railroads converged to build the city, this suspenseful narrative explores how new governmental technologies and engineering feats propelled the rationality of privatization using their property-owning servants as tools.
Valle's tale of corporate greed begins with the city's founder James M. Stafford and ends with present day corporate heir, Edward Roski Jr., the nation's biggest industrial developerùco-owner of the L.A. Staples Arena and possible future owner of California's next NFL franchise. Not to be forgotten in Valle's captivating story are Latino working class communities living within Los Angeles's distribution corridors, who suffer wealth disparities and exposure to air pollution as a result of diesel-burning trucks, trains, and container ships that bring global trade to their very doorsteps. They are among the many victims of City of Industry.
About the Author
VICTOR VALLE, a professor of ethnic studies at California Polytechnic University, San Luis Obispo, is a former Los Angeles Times investigative reporter, a Pulitzer Prize winner, a coauthor of Latino Metropolis, and, most recently, a Radcliffe Fellow.
"The Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Victor Valle is the pit bull of Los Angeles writers. In the mid-1980s he sank his teeth into a story about corruption in the strange city-state of Industry, and he never let go. Now, after twenty years of relentless sleuthing, he tells a tale of epic greed that began in the dusty hills east of Los Angeles but now engrosses the very centers of power in Southern California's Pacific Rim economy. As a noirish revelation of power and secret history of L.A., this is a stunning non-fiction sequel to Robert Towne's Chinatown."
— Mike Davis
"A wonderful, muckraking account of arrogance and the pursuit of economic power. Highly recommended."
"This important book should rightly take its place alongside such works as Mike Davis's City of Quartz and Ecology of Fear, Gray Brechin's Imperial San Francisco, and Donald Worster's Rivers of Empire on the shelf of standard noir literature on California's development. Reflecting Victor Valle's prize-winning talents as an investigative reporter for the Los Angeles Times, much of the narrative of City of Industry reads as well as a Dashiell Hammett novel."
— Michael R. Adamson
"The history of the tale of political intrigue, manipulation of state and local laws, monopolistic business practices, and outright bribery is revealed in City of Industry. Like a Progressive Era muckraker, Valle digs deeply into his evidence to dissect corruption on one level and raise a consciousness of what he sees as similar behavior on a much larger scale."
— Southern California Quarterly