Thursday, January 21, 2010

Review: Smogtown: The Lung-Burning History of Pollution in Los Angeles by Chip Jacobs and William Kelly

genre: non-fiction, history
full disclosure: this book was given to me by a publicist

Smogtown is a history of sunny Los Angeles's smog problem - and WHAT a problem. I had no idea the extent to which smog played a part in L.A.'s recent history. Smog that would coat your house and make you have allergies, change the color of your clothes and kill entire fields of plants. L.A.'s biggest problem was first, to figure out what the smog was made of, who was producing it and how to get RID of it.

While this book is carefully written, with enough anecdotes among the science and politics (OH the politics) to keep it engaging, I only made it a third of the way through. It's not the fault of the authors, who are clearly passionate about the subject and give a very thorough history - it's my fault. I got the book because I thought it sounded like a very interesting subject, but it turns out that my interest is more along the lines of a nice long Time magazine cover story as opposed to an entire book. If anyone has any interest in environmental issues or California history, I would totally recommend it. It just was too much for me. In fact, if you want to read it, leave a comment and I'll mail it out to you. If more than one of you are interested, I'll pick a winner on the 28th.

Please, if you are interested, check out another review here.


Tricia said...

I don't miss smog at all. Growing up in So Cal, we had smog days where it was so bad we couldn't play outside. There were days my lungs were full of it and I coughed myself to sleep. And I got bronchitis every stinking year. It's amazing what people will live with!

Gerbera Daisy Mom said...

Trying to pawn off your half read books, eh?? :)

You would think this was a third world country environmental issue, but it's So Cal!

bermudaonion said...

The book does sound interesting. We used to live in Charlotte which has a problem with air quality too, but it wasn't nearly as bad as that sounds.

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