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Best Books About Los Angeles

Recommendations from 7 articles, Adam Sessler, Andy Greenwald, Neil Strauss.
21 books on the list
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City of Quartz
Excavating the Future in Los Angeles
Mike Davis - Jul 17, 2018 (first published in 1990)
Goodreads Rating
The hidden story of L.A. Mike Davis shows us where the city's money comes from and who controls it while also exposing the brutal ongoing struggle between L.A.'s haves and have-nots....
The Big Sleep
Raymond Chandler - Jul 12, 1988 (first published in 1939)
Goodreads Rating
"Down these mean streets a man must go who is not himself mean, who is neither tarnished nor afraid....He is the hero; he is everything. He must be a complete man and a common man and yet an unusual man. This is the Code of the Private Eye as defined by Raymond Chandler in his 1944 essay 'The Simple Act of Murder.' Such a man was Philip Marlowe, pr...
Recommended by
Adam Sessler
Counter Intelligence
Where to Eat in the Real Los Angeles
Jonathan Gold - Dec 01, 2000
Goodreads Rating
Jonathan Gold has eaten it all. Counter Intelligence collects over 200 of Gold's best restaurant discoveries--from inexpensive lunch counters you won't find on your own to the perfect undiscovered dish at a beaten-path establishment. He reveals the hidden kitchens where Los Angeles' ethnic communities feed their own, including the best of cuisine f...
Los Angeles
The Architecture of Four Ecologies
Reyner Banham - Mar 05, 2009 (first published in 1971)
Goodreads Rating
Reyner Banham examined the built environment of Los Angeles in a way no architectural historian before him had done, looking with fresh eyes at its manifestations of popular taste and industrial ingenuity, as well as its more traditional modes of residential and commercial building. His construct of "four ecologies" examined the ways Angelenos rela...
Southern California
An Island on the Land
Carey McWilliams - Oct 26, 2009 (first published in 1970)
Goodreads Rating
Packed With Magnificent Material On Southern California's Galaxy of Person Alities, This Book Provides Insights Into Subjects Ranging From The Origins Hollywood To The Flowering of International-Style Architecture. and It Does That By Looking At Personalities As Diverse As Helen Hunt Jackson To Aimee Semple McPherson, Huntington The Finan- Cier To ...
Helter Skelter
The True Story of the Manson Murders
Vincent Bugliosi - Dec 17, 2001 (first published in 1974)
Goodreads Rating
Prosecuting attorney in the Manson trial, Vincent Bugliosi held a unique insider's position in one of the most baffling and horrifying cases of the twentieth century: the cold-blooded Tate-LaBianca murders carried out by Charles Manson and four of his followers. What motivated Manson in his seemingly mindless selection of victims, and what was his ...
L.A. Noir
The Struggle for the Soul of America's Most Seductive City
John Buntin - Aug 25, 2009
Goodreads Rating
Other cities have histories. Los Angeles has legends. Midcentury Los Angeles. A city sold to the world as "the white spot of America," a land of sunshine and orange groves, wholesome Midwestern values and Hollywood stars, protected by the world’s most famous police force, the Dragnet-era LAPD. Behind this public image lies a hidden world of "pleasu...
L.A. Confidential
James Ellroy - Sep 01, 1997 (first published in 1990)
Goodreads Rating
L.A. Confidential is epic "noir", a crime novel of astonishing detail and scope written by the bestselling author of The Black Dahlia. A horrific mass murder invades the lives of victims and victimizers on both sides of the law. And three lawmen are caught in a deadly spiral, a nightmare that tests loyalty and courage, and offers no mercy, grants n...
Recommended by
Andy Greenwald
The Run of His Life
The People v. O. J. Simpson
Jeffrey Toobin - Sep 29, 2015 (first published in 1996)
Goodreads Rating
A behind-the-scenes look at the crime of the century and the legal proceedings that followed sheds new light in the arrest and trial of O.J. Simpson, the evidence in the case, and the role of the prosecution and defense....
Ask the Dust
John Fante - Feb 07, 2006 (first published in 1939)
Goodreads Rating
Ask the Dust is the story of Arturo Bandini, a young Italian-American writer in 1930s Los Angeles who falls hard for the elusive, mocking, unstable Camilla Lopez, a Mexican waitress. Struggling to survive, he perseveres until, at last, his first novel is published. But the bright light of success is extinguished when Camilla has a nervous breakdown...
Recommended by
Neil Strauss
Farewell, My Lovely
Raymond Chandler - Aug 01, 1992 (first published in 1940)
Goodreads Rating
Marlowe's about to give up on a completely routine case when he finds himself in the wrong place at the right time to get caught up in a murder that leads to a ring of jewel thieves, another murder, a fortune-teller, a couple more murders, and more corruption than your average graveyard....
Los Angeles. Portrait of a City by Kevin Starr
A Single Man by Christopher Isherwood
The Price Of Experience by Randall Sullivan
The People of Paper by Salvador Plascencia
Always Running by Luis J. Rodriguez
The White Boy Shuffle by Paul Beatty
If He Hollers Let Him Go by Chester Himes
Holy Land by D. J. Waldie
Weetzie Bat by Francesca Lia Block
The History of Forgetting by Norman M. Klein