The king of California : J.G. Boswell and the making of a secret American empire
- Mark Arax & Rick Wartzman.
- 1st ed.
- New York : PublicAffairs, c2003.
- Physical description
- viii, 558 p.,  p. of plates : ill. ; 25 cm.
- Includes bibliographical references (p. 521-531) and index.
- Publisher's Summary
- A rich, colorful history of California centering on the untold story of America 's biggest farmer, J. G. Boswell, who controls more than $1 billion worth of water rights and real estate in the heart of the state. J. G. Boswell is the biggest farmer in America. Over the past fifty years he has built a secret empire while thumbing his nose at nature, politicians, labor unions and every journalist who ever tried to lift the veil on the ultimate "factory in the fields. " Now eighty years old, with an almost pathological bent toward privacy, Boswell has spent the past few years confiding one of the great stories of the American West to Mark Arax and Rick Wartzman. The King of California is the previously untold account of how a Georgia slave-owning family migrated to California in the early 1920s, drained one of America 's biggest lakes in an act of incredible hubris and carved out the richest cotton empire in the world. Indeed, the sophistication of Boswell 's agricultural operation -from lab to field to gin - is unrivaled anywhere. Much more than a business story, this is a sweeping social history that details the saga of cotton growers who were chased from the South by the boll weevil and brought their black farmhands to California. It is a gripping read with cameos by a cast of famous characters, from Cecil B. DeMille to Cesar Chavez.
(source: Nielsen Book Data)9781586480288 20160528
- J. G. Boswell is the biggest farmer in America. Mark Arax and Rick Wartzman of the Los Angeles Times have teased from this notoriously reclusive business titan the fascinating tale of how his family transplanted themselves from plantation Georgia to gain control of the center of California, converting lush wetlands into vast cotton fields. Critically acclaimed and a Times bestseller, the paperback edition of The King of California is ripe for discovery by a whole new audience eager to learn of one of the great untold stories of the American West. Hailed by Joan Didion for its "masterful reporting, invigorating narrative, a deep understanding of California and how it works-this is a flat-out wonderful book about growing cotton and making a fortune in the San Joaquin. ".
(source: Nielsen Book Data)9781586482817 20160528
- Boswell, James Griffin.
- Boswell family.
- Pioneers > California > San Joaquin Valley > Biography.
- Cotton farmers > California > San Joaquin Valley > Biography.
- Businessmen > California > San Joaquin Valley > Biography.
- Cotton growing > California > San Joaquin Valley > History > 20th century.
- Agricultural industries > California > San Joaquin Valley > History > 20th century.
- San Joaquin Valley (Calif.) > History > 20th century.
- San Joaquin Valley (Calif.) > Economic conditions > 20th century.
- San Joaquin Valley (Calif.) > Biography.
- Publication date
- Winner of the 2005 William Saroyan International Prize for Writing in nonfiction
- 1586482815 (pbk.)
- 9781586482817 (pbk.)
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