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L.A. Lore Paperback – 14 Jan 1994
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Stephen Brook breaks out of that mold. An English writer who came to L.A. in the early Nineties, he proceeded to criss-cross the city, visiting virtually every major neighborhood, from Pasadena to Watts, from Beverly Hills to Long Beach. Not only did he bring an Englishman's fresh eye to the city, but he somehow arranged introductions to some of the most interesting people in it. In reading the book, one gathers that his open mind resulted in their opening their minds and hearts to him. He is simply a nice person, which comes through in his writing.
The writing is succinct. Each of the 32 chapters consists of approximately 10 to 12 pages discussing a different aspect of the city (His breakfast with Carver Mead at Caltech, in Chapter 20 is alone worth the price of the book).
Brook's forte is architecture. Los Angeles arguably has the finest modern architecture in America, and Brook provides addresses, the name of the architect, and a brief description of each building, yet somehow avoids sounding like a cataloguer. He is also strong in describing the various museums throughout the city, many of which I was not aware of.
At the same time, he is equally at home discussing the political, educational and gang situation in the city.
All in all, a fine book.
Well-written, funny, insightful, frequently useful - go for it.