Stealing Home by Eric Nusbaum

I have visited Dodger Stadium numerous times throughout my life. I have parked in nearly every parking lot and street adjacent to the stadium. It is a beautiful area. You can see Downtown Los Angeles, the San Gabriel Mountains, and the Hollywood sign from the park. Though you are in the middle of it all, you feel far from everything. Chavez Ravine is a little jewel in the center of Southern California.

I guess this is why the original homeowners to the area loved it too.

What we now simply call Chavez Ravine was once home to Palo Verde, La Loma, and Bishop. These were quaint, easily overlooked areas of Los Angeles.

As the United States was rebounding from World War II and Los Angeles became a bustling metropolis, the need for quality housing became paramount. Soon officials eyed the communities of Palo Verde, La Loma, and Bishop as a perfect place for new public housing.

After numerous law, ordinances, court cases, protests, condemnations and such, the area was set for public housing. However, public support for public housing had eroded. So only a few family and their houses were left untouched for nearly a decade.

And then the Dodgers came to town. Fast forward a few years, the holdouts in Chavez Ravine were finally removed and the Los Angeles Dodgers constructed their new home.

This books tells some interesting stories, I just don’t like how they are presented. Almost every chapter is two to three pages long and each chapter is a different story. Most chapters follow the concurrent stories of the Arechiga family and Frank Wilkinson. The stories are almost too detailed. You are given so much information that doesn’t fill the story or add to the character. It just is. It’s nice to humanize these real life characters, but I think the book suffers from these short snippets that bounce everywhere.

There are other stories included but they are so marginal to the main story, it just confused me.

To say that the story of Chavez Ravine is a story of the Dodgers, in my opinion, is very misleading. The majority of the story does not involve the Dodgers. Evictions and pushing people off their property is a chapter is Los Angles history that happened nearly ten years before O’Malley brought the team over.

I preferred City of Dreams by Jerald Podair.