Item type Home library Collection Shelving location Call number Status Date due Barcode
Books Books Altadena Main Library
Adult Collection Adult Biography BIO BOS J. Available 39270002199465

Enhanced descriptions from Syndetics:

J.G. Boswell is the biggest farmer in America. Over the past fifty years he has 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." Now eighty years old, with an almost pathological bent toward privacy, Boswell has spent the past few years confiding one of the great stories of the American West to Mark Arax and Rick Wartzman. 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. <br> 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.<p>

Includes bibliographical references (p. 521-531) and index.

$30.00 12-2003

$30.00 12/15/2003

Table of contents provided by Syndetics

  • The Boswell Family Tree (p. ix)
  • Winter
  • 1 Winter (p. 3)
  • 2 The Cotton Kingdom (p. 23)
  • 3 The Little Sahara (p. 32)
  • 4 The Lake of the Tules (p. 46)
  • 5 The Little Kingdom of Kings (p. 66)
  • Spring
  • 6 Spring (p. 89)
  • 7 White Gold, Black Faces (p. 113)
  • 8 La Mordida (p. 137)
  • 9 "Goon-Squad Tactics" (p. 158)
  • 10 River of Empire (p. 177)
  • 11 Blue Blood (p. 212)
  • Summer
  • 12 Summer (p. 235)
  • 13 Boot Hill (p. 256)
  • 14 The Stud (p. 286)
  • 15 Truce (p. 316)
  • 16 Lobbyists, Politicians, Payola (p. 349)
  • 17 The View from the Forty-sixth Floor (p. 361)
  • 18 Death in the Homeland Canal (p. 388)
  • Autumn
  • 19 Autumn (p. 411)
  • Notes (p. 431)
  • Bibliography (p. 521)
  • Permissions (p. 533)
  • Acknowledgments (p. 535)
  • Index (p. 539)

Reviews provided by Syndetics

Library Journal Review

Jim Boswell is the biggest farmer in California and probably in the United States. For most of the last century, his family succeeded in keeping its business affairs private, but Los Angeles Times journalists Arax and Wartzman have finally persuaded Boswell to talk about his operations. In addition to interviews, they have used court filings, archival documents and records, and published sources to tell the story of how a few cotton planters chased from the South by the boll weevil settled around Tulare Lake in Kings County, CA, and turned it into one of the foremost cotton-producing areas in the world. Here also is the story of those who worked those fields-Okies, African Americans, and Mexicans-and the cotton workers' strike of 1933. To round out the story, Arax and Wartzman recount the environmental battles over dams, canals, and pollutants that began with the New Deal and continue to this day. Boswell has been reluctant to talk to anyone, and the authors should be commended for getting him on the record. The result is a fair and balanced treatment, to the point of being nonjudgmental about environmental issues. As much social and environmental history as business history, this accessibly written book is recommended for all California libraries and for large collections on American agricultural and social history.-Stephen H. Peters, Northern Michigan Univ. Lib., Marquette (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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