City of Industry

Genealogies of Power in Southern California


Founded in 1957, the Southern California suburb prophetically named City of Industry today represents, in the words of Victor Valle, "The gritty crossroads of the global trade revolution that is transforming Southern California factories into warehouses, and adjacent working class communities into economic and environmental sacrifice zones choking on cheap goods and carcinogenic diesel exhaust." City of Industry is a stunning exposé on the construction of corporate capitalist spaces.

Valle investigated an untapped archive of Industry's built landscape, media coverage, and public records, including sealed FBI reports, to uncover a cascading series of scandals. A kaleidoscopic view of the corruption that resulted when local land owners, media barons, and railroads converged to build the city, this suspenseful narrative explores how new governmental technologies and engineering feats propelled the rationality of privatization using their property-owning servants as tools.

Valle's tale of corporate greed begins with the city's founder James M. Stafford and ends with present day corporate heir, Edward Roski Jr., the nation's biggest industrial developerùco-owner of the L.A. Staples Arena and possible future owner of California's next NFL franchise. Not to be forgotten in Valle's captivating story are Latino working class communities living within Los Angeles's distribution corridors, who suffer wealth disparities and exposure to air pollution as a result of diesel-burning trucks, trains, and container ships that bring global trade to their very doorsteps. They are among the many victims of City of Industry.

  • Rutgers University Press; September 2009
  • ISBN 9780813548388
  • Read online, or download in secure PDF format
  • Title: City of Industry
  • Author: Victor Valle
  • Imprint: Rutgers University Press

In The Press

"This important book should rightly take its place alongside such works as Mike Davis's City of Quartz and Ecology of Fear, Gray Brechin's Imperial San Francisco, and Donald Worster's Rivers of Empire on the shelf of standard noir literature on California's development. Reflecting Victor Valle's prize-winning talents as an investigative reporter for the Los Angeles Times, much of the narrative of City of Industry reads as well as a Dashiell Hammett novel."

About The Author

VICTOR VALLE, a professor of ethnic studies at California Polytechnic University, San Luis Obispo, is a former Los Angeles Times investigative reporter, a Pulitzer Prize winner, a coauthor of Latino Metropolis, and, most recently, a Radcliffe Fellow.