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William Mulholland and the Rise of Los Angeles [Kindle Edition]

Catherine Mulholland

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From Kirkus Reviews

The remarkable life of the self-taught, Irish-born civil engineer who led the long, extraordinary effort to bring water to early Los Angeles.Catherine Mulholland (The Owensmouth Baby, not reviewed), William's granddaughter, researched her highly detailed biography from office files, vintage newspapers, city archives, and interviews covering the early history and rise of a great city. William Mulholland's story began with the discovery of a rich water source in Owens Valley. The transportation of this liquid gold to distant Los Angeles was made possible by the massive engineering feat of the Owens Valley Aqueduct-a project that took over a decade to build amid disheartening problems involving financing, hostile landowners and politicians, a biased media, and some radical sabotage. The author describes an unflappable man of iron character, construction expertise, and courage. Mulholland was an avid reader and yet a man of action-a dam builder, a solver of problems who planned and directed the application of the hardest and most dangerous physical labor in planting pipelines through wild deserts and the blasting miles of tunnels through mountainous countryside to finally bring precious water and hydroelectric power to the fast-growing city. In 18 years, Mulholland rose from obscurity to become a leading citizen. His later years were saddened by the mysterious collapse of one of his dams, a tragedy that took 400 lives. Part of the author's intent in creating this biography was to correct what she claims are misleading and distorted themes in the 1979 movie Chinatown.A comprehensive account of a mostly forgotten era, casting new light on Mulholland's legendary achievements for the city of Los Angeles-as well as an enlightening addition to the history of the American West. -- Copyright © 2000 Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.


"A saga of truly heroic proportions, a tale told with both grace and grandeur."--"Los Angeles Times Book Review


  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • Dateigröße: 6452 KB
  • Seitenzahl der Print-Ausgabe: 432 Seiten
  • Verlag: University of California Press; Auflage: New Ed (6. Mai 2002)
  • Verkauf durch: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Sprache: Englisch
  • ASIN: B003AU4JKY
  • Text-to-Speech (Vorlesemodus): Aktiviert
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Aktiviert
  • Erweiterte Schriftfunktion: Nicht aktiviert
  • Amazon Bestseller-Rang: #688.580 Bezahlt in Kindle-Shop (Siehe Top 100 Bezahlt in Kindle-Shop)

  •  Ist der Verkauf dieses Produkts für Sie nicht akzeptabel?

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Die hilfreichsten Kundenrezensionen auf (beta) 4.4 von 5 Sternen  14 Rezensionen
33 von 36 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
3.0 von 5 Sternen A Great Story Lost in the Details 20. Dezember 2004
Von Parker Benchley - Veröffentlicht auf
One of the great stories in American history was the transformation of Los Angeles from a sleepy, anarchic California town into the megalopolis of today. And in any history of this transformation, the figure of William Mulholland looms large, for it was he who almost single-handedly brought about this transformation by providing Los Angeles with the one thing it needed to grow: an abundant water supply. This was accomplished by building an aqueduct to divert water from the Owens River to L.A. But this was no peaceful project; residents of Owens Valley, farmers and ranchers, felt the water had been appropriated from them through cronyism and legal bullying. They retaliated by blowing up sections of the aqueduct in 1924 and 1927. Mulholland himself met his own downfall with the collapse of the St. Francis Dam in 1928, a disaster that killed over 500 people and destroyed Mulholland's career.

These are but parts of a great story in American history, but one would never know it from reading his granddaughter's tome, for the vivacity of the times is thoroughly lost in needless detail; almost a year by year survey of her grandfather's accomplishments. Instead she is more intent on refuting the critics' charges, painting Mulholland as a pragmatist guided by a progressive vision of what Los Angeles could become. Because of this stand, her arguments are not altogether convincing; the Owens Valley residents tend to be painted as villains exploited by villains on the press that seek Mulholland's downfall. In the Preface we are given warning of this bias when she takes previous books on the subject to task. Her attempt at exonerating her grandfather for the St. Francis Dam disaster is also unconvincing, almost as if she were attempting to refute the movie "Chinatown", itself a piece of fictionalized history.

If by reading the above paragraph one thinks this biography is lively, think again. The best way to obfuscate an issue is to bury it in details, and the book covers its subject almost year by year, which is a shame given the subject matter and the presence of Mulholland, a mover and shaker who, unfortunately, became a prisoner of his own vision. Mulholland's life is akin to a Greek tragedy, and this is the stuff of which history is made, not the mere recitation of facts. The tragedy is that, given the subject matter, this book could have been so much more than it turned out to be.
44 von 50 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen The history of Los Angeles is the history of it's water 2. Oktober 2000
Von Marshall - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
You would think a biography by a grand-daughter may tend to the less objective side. Catherine Mulholland's work is a referenced account of the fight for municipal control of water, and subsequently power, in the early 1900's in Los Angeles. Mulholland takes you by the hand, almost as if you were on an tour with "The Chief", through Willaim Mulhollands childhood, departure from Ireland, to eventual settlement in Los Angeles. From there she cronicles the water needs of the pueblo (pop. 10,000); Mulhollands rise from digger to the designer of the Los Angeles Aquaduct; his management of the political arena to the St. Francis Dam. It was the 'over success' of Bill Mulholland to bring water to a desert that allowed the expotential growth of Los Angeles in area and character. Discriptions of the water works are fascinating - some surviving parts of it still are in use. If you have ever wondered what the real story was behind the film "Chinatown", this is it.
27 von 33 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
3.0 von 5 Sternen Dana Willis 9. Dezember 2001
Von Dana Willis - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
Catherine Mulholland sets the tone of the book in the preface, where she focuses on putting previous publications in their place, and states her reliance on newspapers of the time. As pointed out in an earlier publication (Water and Power by W. Kahrl) newspapers are an unreliable source of information because they tend to reflect the bias of the publisher at the time. Mr. Kahrl relied on official records and documents whereas Ms. Mulholland relied more on newspaper accounts and less on official documents.
In large part the book covers the life and times of William Mulholland, but it certainly leaves the reader with the impression that he did only good in his lifetime. Unfortunately the book ignores or does not respond to much of the criticism heaped upon Mr. Mulholland by more contemporary publications, and instead focuses on his positive contributions. In this respect the book is not entirely well balanced. Although well written I fear that this book is an attempt by the family to have the final word on the history of a complex man who was more dimensional than the author allows.
2 von 2 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
3.0 von 5 Sternen Lacking Details on Engineering and Family Life 30. August 2009
Von Amazon Customer - Veröffentlicht auf
The interest for reading the book was to learn the man behind bringing water to Los Angeles that led to making it one of the most known cities in the world. As much as Ms. Mullholland stated the projects her grandfather William did, it lacked details in laypersons terms the design features that made them among the world's great engineering feats. You wonder if the author was hiding family secrets. She only tells of the names of her wife and children, never giving much about their lives. At most she mentions her grandmother's illness that led to her death.
5.0 von 5 Sternen Shows the good and bad side of this longtime LA water engineer ... 1. Juni 2015
Von M Mahoney - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Kindle Edition|Verifizierter Kauf
A well written biography of Mulholland by his granddaughter. Shows the good and bad side of this longtime LA water engineer from his birth through his successes (LA aqueduct) and failures (San Franciscito dam collapse). She also interdicts notes about his personal family life that add a new dimension about him. I really enjoyed this book and recommend it.
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