Becoming Los Angeles
Becoming Los Angeles, a new collection by the author of the acclaimed memoir Holy Land, blends history, memory, and critical analysis to illuminate how Angelenos have seen themselves and their city. Waldie’s particular concern is commonplace Los Angeles, whose rhythms of daily life are set against the gaudy backdrop of historical myth and Hollywood illusion. It’s through sacred ordinariness that Waldie experiences the city’s seasons. In his exploration of sprawling Los Angeles, he considers how the city’s image was constructed and how it fostered willful amnesia about the city’s conflicted past. He encounters the immigrants and exiles, the dreamers and con artists, the celebrated and forgotten who became Los Angeles. He measures the place of nature in the city and the different ways that nature has been defined. He maps on the contours of Los Angeles what embracing―or rejecting―an Angeleno identity has come to mean.