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, O’Malley refused to give up and, with the help of some Hollywood stars, liberal Democrats, conservative Republicans, and a play-by-play announcer who would become an icon, Dodger Stadium was built. This not only gave Los Angeles a modern sports venue, but it transformed the city landscape itself.
City of Dreams vividly recounts the struggle to build Dodger Stadium as Los Angeles becomes divided along political and racial lines, as well as the competing visions of the residents in the interest of their city. The compelling narrative describes every battle over housing, money, business, and identity as a baseball stadium gets built and the municipality is forced to make difficult decisions to move this incredible enterprise forward. Podair examines the value of sports and argues that it can exceed the cost of a massive structure and transform a city itself, bringing it into the modern era. City of Dreams is a tribute to the tenacity of one man, Walter O’Malley, and to the metropolis the Dodgers now call home. If you are a baseball fan or interested in the way business and sports intersect, City of Dreams; Dodger Stadium and the Birth of Modern Los Angeles is for you.
I was given a free copy from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.