King of California: J.G. Boswell and the Making of a Secret American Empireby Mark Arax
J.G. Boswell was the biggest farmer in America. He built a secret empire while thumbing his nose at nature, politicians, labor unions and every journalist who ever tried to lift the veil on the ultimate "factory in the fields." The King of California is the previously untold account of how a Georgia slave-owning family migrated to California in the/i>
J.G. Boswell was the biggest farmer in America. He built a secret empire while thumbing his nose at nature, politicians, labor unions and every journalist who ever tried to lift the veil on the ultimate "factory in the fields." The King of California is the previously untold account of how a Georgia slave-owning family migrated to California in the early 1920s,drained one of America 's biggest lakes in an act of incredible hubris and carved out the richest cotton empire in the world. Indeed, the sophistication of Boswell 's agricultural operation -from lab to field to gin - is unrivaled anywhere.
Much more than a business story, this is a sweeping social history that details the saga of cotton growers who were chased from the South by the boll weevil and brought their black farmhands to California. It is a gripping read with cameos by a cast of famous characters, from Cecil B. DeMille to Cesar Chavez.
- Publication date:
- Edition description:
- First Trade Paper Edition
- Sales rank:
- Product dimensions:
- 5.50(w) x 8.25(h) x 1.50(d)
- Age Range:
- 16 - 18 Years
Meet the Author
Mark Arax is a contributing writer at Los Angeles magazine and a former senior writer at the Los Angeles Times. He is the author of West of the West. Rick Wartzman is the Director of the Drucker Institute at Claremont Graduate University in California, a fellow of the New America Foundation, and the author of Obscene in the Extreme. He was formerly the business editor for the Los Angeles Times and a reporter for the Wall Street Journal.
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This is a marvelous tale well told - a story of family feuds, water policy gone mad, Okies drifting and towns booming and busting. It drags a bit toward the end, and the story of how the valley towns went bust is not fully explored. The practice of having the opening chapters of each Part of the book be descriptive of the cotton growing is more 'Moby Dick' than 'Grapes of Wrath' but wonderfully effective. Nonetheless, a great story.