Before L.A. Race, Space, and Municipal Power in Los Angeles, 1781-1894 David Samuel Torres-Rouff

The Lamar Series in Western History
Publication date:
24 Sep 2013
Yale University Press
376 pages: 235 x 156 x 25mm
40 b-w illus.
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David Torres-Rouff significantly expands borderlands history by examining the past and original urban infrastructure of one of America’s most prominent cities; its social, spatial, and racial divides and boundaries; and how it came to be the Los Angeles we know today. It is a fascinating study of how an innovative intercultural community developed along racial lines, and how immigrants from the United States engineered a profound shift in civic ideals and the physical environment, creating a social and spatial rupture that endures to this day.

David Samuel Torres-Rouff is an assistant professor of history at the University of California, Merced. He lives in Merced, CA.

“A major contribution to the urban history of the American West, along with environmental and Mexican American history. Before L.A. deepens our understanding of Mexican California and builds on the recent works that are invigorating the field of borderland history.”—Maria Raquel Casas, University of Nevada, Las Vegas

“An engaging and innovative study of nineteenth-century Los Angeles and the complex racial and ethnic relations that defined this time period, Before L.A. is remarkable for its originality in scope and depth of analysis. . . . A solid piece of scholarship that is brilliantly organized, analytically sound, and clear in its prose.”— Rudy P. Guevarra, Jr., Arizona State University

“Torres-Ruff’s first book is a good one that makes meticulous use of documents.”—Choice