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Upon first meeting Boswell, it was easy to think of him as just another farmer ...
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Upon first meeting Boswell, it was easy to think of him as just another farmer tooling around in his dusty pickup. But this was a titan who owned more agricultural acreage and controlled more river water than any other land baron in the West. He grew more cotton than anyone on the planet, and he grew cities, too, including the first major retirement community in the country - Sun City, Arizona.
The King of California is a narrative that will carry readers from the Catholic fathers who built their missions up and down El Camino Real to the psychotic murderers incarcerated at the infamous Corcoran State Prison. Along the way, Arax and Wartzman tell the story of how the Boswells, a Georgia slave-owning family who migrated from California in the early 1920s, drained one of America's biggest lakes and carved out the richest cotton kingdom in the world. It is the biography of a forbidding landscape tamed by the vision of one man. From the clay bottoms of old Tulare lake to the corridors of Washington, Jim Boswell had won just about every battle. And yet the question lingered: Was his farming miracle worth the heavy price that America had paid?
Posted February 24, 2004
Although I have spent my life in the San Joaquin Valley, not far from Corcoran, I discovered some interesting new information in this book. However, errors such as putting Delano in Tulare County when it is in Kern County, and a few other real obvious klunkers, made me want to check things twice. Sometimes the authors let their own agenda get in the way of the facts, and they use a bit of hyperbole in description, but the facts of the draining of Tulare Lake, the damming of the four major rivers, and the pre-eminence of WATER as the motivating force in our desert land are very well explained. Not least, this book is a good and entertaining read.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted November 26, 2003
the King of California is the non fiction equivalent of 'The Grapes of Wrath'. It's a richly reported, wonderfully written story of California's Central Valley. Very Highly recommended.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.