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Blue Sky Metropolis: The Aerospace Century in Southern California

The aerospace industry, more than the entertainment industry, created a monumental population growth within a short period of time and changed the Southern California region in unimagined and unthought of ways which still have repercussions today. This unique collection of essays examines various aspects of the growth of that industry. The contributors are from different disciplines and therefore provide a spirited discussion in several subject areas: the human element, the work, the culture, the communities and the geography. This is not intended to be a complete history of the aerospace industry but rather a multifaceted look at why Southern California was the place for this to happen, what were and are the consequences in terms of housing, freeway expansion, pollution, rapid population growth, the romance of flight and space travel in fact and fiction, the response of architectural design in buildings that were industry-related and other structures, unions, gender and racial politics, and the dynamic exchanges with the entertainment industry.

This book includes a photo-essay with photographs culled from the Huntington Library's collection. And the entire work is the result of: "The Aerospace History Project, sponsored by the Huntington-USC Institute on California and the West, and aims to collect and interpret documents and reminiscences drawn from Southern California's century of aerospace and production." Peter J. Westwick is the director of the Institute and edited this collection.

This is an understated, reflective book that packs a wallop in ideas, social commentary and history. With Los Angeles as the new home for the space shuttle Endeavour, this book will give readers a vibrant overview of the what, why and how of a Southern California that was the birthplace of an industry that eventually created real space ships.