The Mirage Factory: Illusion, Imagination, and the Invention of Los Angeles
Little more than a century ago, the southern coast of California was sleepy semi-desert farmland. Then, as if overnight, one of the world's largest and most iconic cities emerged. At the heart of th ...more
First, there's the story of the city's great engineer, William Mulholland, After whom the great mountain road traversing the Santa Monica's was named. Mulholland was a great vi ...more
The setting is the early 1900s as Los Angeles is coming to grips with a most pressing problem: the need for more water to satisfy the growing number of residents of a large desert-like farming area by the Pacific. Three people, each having vastly different backgrounds and life interests, are the essential narrators of the la ...more
Krist brings the birth of Los Angeles to life by showing us its state in the very early 1900s as a pokey, dusty town, unpromising because of its lack of a dee ...more
Krist tells LA’s story by focusing on three people who were important in shaping the development of old LA: William Mulholland, D.W. Griffith, and Aimee Semple McPherson. Mulholland was the engineer who found a (temporary) solution to Los Angeles’s lack of water: drain the Owens Va ...more
Gary Krist does a fine job of presenting three separate narratives that describe well the events that shaped LA and guided the city towards significance. He begins with the story of Mr. Mulholland, the man who stole water from other areas so that LA could grow. Intertwined with the water saga is the brief history of D.W. Griff ...more
My favorite thread is D. W. Griffith, pioneering Hollywood film director. The chapters on Griffith and the so-fast-rich, so-fast-fame yarns of early Hollywood read like a People magazine. A thinking person's People, without the gush.
Next I followed the 30 year ...more
D.W. Griffin's story from this side was interesting. I had known him as the filmmaker who directed the racist Birth of a Nation through books about WWI and Woodrow Wilson. A much more complicated character than portrayed in those histories.
The book covers the 1900s to the 1930s. In those three decades ...more
A look at the founding of the great city of Los Angeles, told in the third person viewpoint of three of its early legendary figures.
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William Mulholland: Born in Dublin, Ireland, this single-minded workaholic transformed himself from an immigrant digger of ditches, to “The Chief”, serving the city of Los Angeles for over 50 years, rising to become the head of the powerful Department of Water.
D W (David Wark) Griffith: T ...more
"The Mirage Factory" is the history of how a rough frontier town sprang forth from a 450 square mile plot of a mostly hostile, desert landscape to a sprawling metropolis of over 2 million people in the scant period betwe ...more
Three individuals were essent ...more
An interesting history of a city as told by three major players in its early years. Mirage Factory details the early years of Los Angeles from a small desert town to the seeds of what it has become today by following the careers and lives of the engineer Mulholland who brought water to the desert allowing it to grow, the director D.W. Griffith who played a major role in the birth of film and filmmaking in LA, and the evangel ...more
William Muholland was the man responsible for an aquaduct that brought millions of gallons of water to Los Angeles in the early 1900s, when the population of the city was becoming too large to accommodate the existing water supply. That he used some big-city trickery to get the water rights from the farmers and ranchers of ...more
And in loving something, you are often tempted to try and explain it. But, one of the things I love about LA is how difficult it is to explain. There are plenty of ways you could explain how Los Angeles became to be what it is today, and to do a complete job would be impossible with just one text. But Gary Krist does about a good a job with "The Mirage Factory" as you possibly could.
As Krist tells it, there are three key components to Los Angeles ...more
Mr. Krist is right to focus on the first thirty years of the 20th century as the period of LA's transformation but I don't think two of his subjects do much to explain the rise. He uses the lives of Angelenos William Mulholland, D.W. Griffith and Aimee Semple McPherson to explain this phenomenon. Mulholland is a requirement because LA makes no sense as a teeming metropolis of millions unless there is enough water to drink. Mulholland made sure that happened.
The movies were essential to creating...more