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

3.78  ·  Rating details ·  115 ratings  ·  19 reviews
On the sixtieth anniversary of the Dodgers' move to Los Angeles, the full story of the controversial building of Dodger Stadium and how it helped transform the city.

When Walter O'Malley moved his Brooklyn Dodgers to Los Angeles in 1957 with plans to construct a new ballpark next to downtown, he ignited a bitter argument over the future of a rapidly changing city. For the f
Hardcover, 384 pages
Published April 4th 2017 by Princeton University Press
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I enjoyed this book so much that as I neared the end I started reading it more slowly because I didn't want want to finish it. For a diehard Dodger fan and a native Angeleno who loves her city, this book is pure Nirvana. It is the story of Walter O'Malley, who left his native New York after being thwarted by the powerful Robert Moses in his dream of building a stadium in Brooklyn, for Los Angeles, a city whose leaders promised to sell him land where he could build a stadium, only have opponents ...more
When the Brooklyn Dodgers moved to Los Angeles following the 1957 baseball season, little did anyone predict the long protracted process it would take for owner Walter O’Malley to construct Dodger Stadium. That process, with all of the political battles and conflicting visions of what type of city Los Angeles would be with the new ballpark, is captured in this well-written and balanced book by Jerald Podair.

Every step of the process from the announcement that the Dodgers were moving to Los Ange
Reid Mccormick
Aug 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: baseball
Compared to many people I know, I am not a well-travelled person. I unfortunately have never made it out of North America. Hopefully, one day I can explore more continents. However, I have been fortunate to visit a lot of major cities in the United States: New York, Portland, Seattle, Phoenix, Chicago, Boston, Minneapolis, Orlando and a few others but to me, nothing compares to Los Angeles.

Cue Randy Newman.

No doubt about it, Los Angeles is different. It does not have the edge, vibe, or feel of
Jan 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A deserving winner of SABR’s Seymour Medal for the best book on baseball history published in 2017, “City of Dreams” sheds new light on the Dodgers’ move to Los Angeles in 1958 and the subsequent building of Dodger Stadium. This book focuses on the political drama and the behind-the-scenes decisions that put team owner Walter O’Malley in the right place at the right time to build a state-of-the art ballpark in Chavez Ravine that transformed the city of Los Angeles and set in motion a half-centur ...more
Virginia Walter
Aug 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: adult-nonfiction
This is a mostly political history of the factions opposed and favoring the move of the Dodgers from Brooklyn to Los Angeles in the late 1950s and early 1960s. While I was aware of the controversy surrounding the eviction of families from the vibrant Mexican-American community of Chavez Ravine, I did not know that this was originally intended to make room for a public housing development -- not for Dodger Stadium. However, O'Malley's plan for his stadium on that site rekindled both opposition an ...more
Jul 02, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Read this before (and on) a West coast vacation that included an upcoming game to the park. Was very well written and a pleasant surprise for a topic that otherwise wouldn't have been of huge personal interest. Not sure what I would have thought if I wasn't going to the park. Special thanks and h/t to Chuck Ballingall for reading and rating this on Goodreads, otherwise I never would have even heard of it. ...more
Shankar P S
Apr 20, 2021 rated it really liked it
A must read for those interested in LA history. The book chronicles how the Dodgers stadium was constructed. While the main topic of the book, history behind the construction of Dodgers stadium, is interesting, the prose of the book is repetitive. There were several points that seem to be repeated and makes the book a bit dull.
Geoff Walling
Jul 10, 2017 rated it it was ok
This interested me because I have lived in Los Angeles for a long time and have been to Dodger stadium many times. It was too much detail, but does raise some interesting questions about public money and sports stadiums that are especially relevant today.
Peter Faur
Oct 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
Interesting read detailing the obstacles Walter O'Malley faced in moving the Dodgers from Brooklyn to Los Angeles. Despite promises from the city fathers, the agreement to build Dodger Stadium nearly fell through after he moved the team. Fascinating story. ...more
Brenton Walters
Apr 13, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: didn-t-finish
I feel bad, but I didn’t get past the first few pages in chapter 1.

I listened to a podcast about part of this (the Chávez Ravine clearance) and felt okay about not reading it all.

Seemed okay, but just a few lazy sentences / ideas. Meh.
Nov 14, 2020 rated it liked it
Informative book about the political state of Los Angeles in the 50s/60s as well as the process to build the Dodger Stadium. Sometimes a little dull.
John Ward
Not worth the read, there have to be better books on LA politics.
Josh Stephens
Jun 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
A little dry, but an excellent, comprehensive account of a crucial moment in LA history.

I reviewed it in the California Planning & Development Report:
Shirl Kennedy
Mar 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
A rich stew of urban planning, politics, legal wrangling, and baseball.
Brandon Behlke
May 04, 2017 rated it liked it
The book did a thorough, detailed job but at times became hard to read as it got too detailed and took the emotion out of the book.
Aug 25, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: history, baseball
A social history of the building of Dodger Stadium and its impact on the city of Los Angeles, it tells a complex story and makes an important contribution to the record. It drags a bit as it covers in great detail the political machinations and legal maneuvering, but builds to a solid finish and a mixed conclusion: That the "Taj Mahal of Baseball" had a significant positive impact on the game and the city, but not without a cost. ...more
Katherine Wacker
Feb 28, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In his book, City of Dreams; Dodger Stadium and the Birth of Modern Los Angeles, Jerald Podair traces the tumultuous journey of Walter O’Malley in his quest to build his beloved Brooklyn Dodgers their own home on the East Coast. When politics and personalities would not relent, this determined entrepreneur made the decision to go west. Despite securing verbal and written agreements by the City of Los Angeles, O’Malley endured one delay after another, putting his dream very much in doubt. However ...more
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Brisa P
This book talks about the story of The Dodgers and how they became Los Angeles.
Dennis Ramsey
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Apr 29, 2020
Kirk Farney
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