Posts Tagged ‘book’

Smogtown set for e-book for Kindle and other mobile devices August 23. It’s a helluva, brown story for a warming age.

Monday, August 15th, 2011

Click here at amazon.com and let the journey begin

Some reasons to download it:

* Named one of 2008′s best environmental books by Booklist magazine

* Awarded silver medals at The Green Book Festival and Independent Book Publishers (IPPY) Awards. Winner of the Green Prize for Sustainable Literature from Santa Monica.

* Reviews

“[A] remarkably entertaining and informative chronicle of the birth and—so far—inexorable evolution of smog… This book is just amazing, a gripping story well told, with the requisite plucky scientists (including Arie Haagen-Smit, a Dutch biochemist who was “the Elvis of his field”), hapless politicians, and a nebulous biochemical villain who just will not be stopped.” –Booklist (Starred review)

“The history of smog has never been so sexy” — Los Angeles Times

“Smog in all its hazy-and sometimes humorous-permutations … a zany and provocative cultural history.” — Kirkus

“Finished with a particularly powerful, forward-looking epilogue, this friendly, accessible history should appeal to any American environmentalist.”– Publishers Weekly

“… a meticulous chronicle of the city’s signature airborne grime and of the civic and social forces that emerged to stop it … … The story of Smogtown is that of a city vying against time to reconcile incommensurables … ” — Bookforum

“The narrative that emerges is more than a tale of a region and a populace besieged by smog; it is also a parable for a nation beset by environmental and social problems … (a) well-researched cultural history” — Slate

“Writing in a hip, lively style, …[An] intriguing social history of an environmental problem that won’t go away. Recommended.” – Library Journal

“A well-documented, highly engaging, and widely relevant account of southern California’s battle with “the beast,” as the authors lovingly refer to smog. … Smogtown is not your typical “green’s” diatribe against big business and weak government. No, Jacobs and Kelly are much smarter-and fairer-than that” — Sustainablog

* From the dust jacket description:

“The smog beast wafted into downtown Los Angeles on July 26, 1943. Nobody knew what it was. Secretaries rubbed their eyes. Traffic cops seemed to disappear in the mysterious haze. Were Japanese saboteurs responsible? A reckless factory? The truth was much worse–it came from within, from Southern California’s burgeoning car-addicted, suburban lifestyle. Smogtown is the story of pollution, progress, and how an optimistic people confronted the epic struggle against airborne poisons barraging their hometowns. With wit, verve, and a fresh look at history, California based journalists Chip Jacobs and William J. Kelly highlight the bold personalities involved, the corporate- tainted science, the terrifying health costs, the attempts at cleanup, and how the smog battle helped mold the modern-day culture of Los Angeles. There are scofflaws aplenty and dirty deals, plus murders, suicides, spiritual despair, and an ever-present paranoia about mass disaster. Brimming with historic photographs, forgotten anecdotes, and new revelations about our environmentally precarious present, Smogtown is a journalistic classic for the modern age.”

Jacobs and Kelly at Smogtown panel – the long lost links

Tuesday, February 15th, 2011

Sorry it’s taken so long to bring you what we considered a fabulous night at the L.A. Central Library’s prestigious ALOUD program. On our panel were some incredible minds — Tom Hayden, Martin Schlageter and Kevin Roderick — and we still feel honored to have been invited a year and a half later.

Here’s the link to the podcast for the show, which was about 2/3s full — not bad for the middle of the week during a Laker’s Finals game.

Last month, with the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s retirement of its last diesel bus, the LAPL’s Metro-transit librarian was kind to us again, highlighting Smogtown as “notable” book

So you think smog is yesterday’s news in the age of climate change? Wrong!

Thursday, December 3rd, 2009

“In the first global assessment of the impact of ozone on climate warming, scientists at the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS), New York, evaluated how ozone in the lowest part of the atmosphere (the troposphere) changed temperatures over the past 100 years. Using the best available estimates of global emissions of gases that create ozone, the GISS computer model study reveals how much this single air pollutant and greenhouse gas has contributed to warming in specific regions of the world.

Ozone was responsible for one-third to half of the observed warming trend in the Arctic during winter and spring, according to the new research. Ozone is transported from the industrialized countries in the Northern Hemisphere to the Arctic quite efficiently during these seasons. The findings will be published soon in the American Geophysical Union’s Journal of Geophysical Research-Atmospheres …”

Article link

We’ll have more about this soon.

Of course, we tease this subject in Smogtown.

Latest book review from Earth First

Sunday, September 27th, 2009

swampy-earth-picture-jpeg-lasmogtown1

“If you think the air is bad in Los Angeles right now, you probably didn’t live there for much of the past century. When the thick, view-obscuring gray haze first appeared in the city on July 26th, 1943, nobody knew quite what to think of it. Was some factory suddenly spewing tons of pollution in to the air? Was it some kind of chemical attack? Citizens of this Southern California city didn’t yet realize the cost of their own modernized lifestyle, wherein practically every single resident owned their own vehicle.

Smogtown: The Lung-Burning History of Pollution in Los Angeles” by Chip Jacobs and William Kelly tracks the smog invasion of LA from the first moment it arrived through the many efforts to combat it.  This might not sound too exciting – especially for people who aren’t hardcore environmentalists interested in every detail of our nation’s struggle with pollution – but you’ll be pleasantly surprised to find that Smogtown is thoroughly entertaining from start to finish.

 It’s a dramatic story, playing out like it was written for the screen, with clear protagonists and villains – and humor peppered throughout. While Smogtown does an excellent job of providing the hard facts about how the pollution got so bad, the weakness of the government in controlling it and the difficulty of convincing Los Angelenos to sacrifice any part of their lifestyle to make it go away – it’s also a gripping tale that will keep you eagerly turning the pages. What with the terrified citizens crashing their cars in panic at the appearance of the smog and bewildered, ineffectual government officials bumbling about, it’s almost like Godzilla, but with pollution as “the beast”.

Of course, we all know how this story ends. Air pollution is still a major concern in Los Angeles, and despite knowing that the automobile is the source, LA is still crawling with cars and lacking a decent public transit system. But don’t let that stop you from giving this lively story a read. It’s got sex, plenty of Hollywood glamour, scandal, and murder – but never falters in its brilliant coverage of an incredibly important environmental issue …”

Review link

SMOGTOWN book discussion — courtesy of Chip, Bill, Tom Hayden, Kevin Roderick and Martin Schlageter — coming to the L.A. Public Library’s ALOUD program this Tuesday. Should be a robust event. We can’t wait.

Thursday, June 4th, 2009

smog-suit-for-lapl-aloud-event-jpeg-lasmogtown1

If you’re interested in making it for this panel discussion, Q&A with the audience and signing at the downtown Central Branch, click here for details. They put on a wonderful program. Ours will be in the Mark Taper Auditorium.

Here’s the promo:

Tuesday, June 9 7:00 pm

SMOGTOWN: The Lung-Burning History of Pollution in Los Angeles How did smog help mold the modern-day culture of Los Angeles? Join this discussion about pollution, progress and the epic struggle against airborne poisons.

A panel discussion with authors Chip Jacobs and William J. Kelly; Tom Hayden, author and former state legislator; and Martin Schlageter, Coalition for Clean Air. Moderated by Kevin Roderick, Editor, LAObserved.com

CENTRAL LIBRARY • Mark Taper Auditorium
Fifth & Flower Streets, Downtown L.A.
PARKING: 524 S. Flower St. Garage. $1 until 8:45pm with LAPL Card validation which must be obtained.
FREE, RESERVATIONS: (213) 228-7025 or www.aloudla.org
Limited Seating, Reservations Recommended.

P.S. Apologies for the non-existent posting of late. Chip has been on assignment.

Chip talking smog and L.A. culture at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books at UCLA

Sunday, April 26th, 2009

chip-jacobs-author-headshot

To watch the clip from C-SPAN’s Book TV, click here and scroll forward to 5 hours, 3 minutes and 20 seconds. The panel, devoted to Los Angeles’ unknown and forgotten history and moderated by USC history professor William Deverell, took place on Saturday, April 25 on the UCLA campus.

Here’s the Times’ coverage of the panel from the L.A. Times Jacket Copy blog.

It was astonishing event and quite the high. We had probably 300 people in a jam-packed lecture hall, and my two co-writer and our moderator were outstanding. What else would we expect?

I was also able to promote and sell my other book, Wheeling the Deal: the Outrageous Legend of Gordon Zahler, Hollywood’s Flashiest Quadriplegic, in addition to Smogtown: the Lung-Burning History of Pollution in Los Angeles, which was the reason I was invited on the panel. If Smogtown has my lungs, existentially that is, Wheeling the Deal holds my heart.

In this holiday season, why not put a little smoggy brown story under the tree? We’re just saying …

Monday, December 15th, 2008

Remarkably entertaining and informative … This book is just amazing, a gripping story well told, with the requisite plucky scientists ( … a Dutch biochemist who was “the Elvis of his field”), hapless politicians, and a nebulous biochemical villain who just will not be stopped.”
- Booklist starred review

“historical heft … style delivers substance in true Hollywood fashion, with character-driven plots draped in glamour and sensation … the history of smog has never been so sexy”
Los Angeles Times

a meticulous chronicle of the city’s signature airborne grime and of the civic and social forces that emerged to stop it
- Bookforum

“Finished with a particularly powerful, forward-looking epilogue, this friendly, accessible history should appeal to any American environmentalist”
- Publishers Weekly

a well-documented, highly engaging, and widely relevant account of southern California’s battle with “the beast” … not your typical “green’s” diatribe against big business and weak government. No, Jacobs and Kelly are much smarter–and fairer–than that
- Sustainablog

“In this tale of underhanded deals, gritty politics, community organizing and burgeoning environmentalism, the corruption is plentiful and the subplots replete with intrigue … the authors offer a zany and provocative cultural history”
- Kirkus

“The narrative that emerges is more than a tale of a region and a populace besieged by smog; it is also a parable for a nation beset by environmental and social problems … Among the pleasures of this well-researched cultural history is revisiting the past by way of old newspaper articles and archival material, which expose both hapless guesses and dogged persistence on the way to smog literacy.”
- Slate

- “Hip and lively .. an intriguing social history of an environmental problem that won’t go away.” Recommended.
Library Journal

Los Angeles magazine Fall 2008 book pick
amazon.com link

Who says the environmental movement really dawned in the 1970s? Listen to the opening lyrics from George Harrison — “There’s a fog upon LA …” —

Monday, December 1st, 2008

in this Beatles song “Blue Jay Way” from the Magical Mystery Tour album. Harrison wrote the off-tempo piece after renting a place on Blue Jay Way, a steep, winding road in the Beverly Glen off the Sunset Strip. High up in the hills (in more ways than one), Harrison could view the L.A. floorbed absolutely smothered in noxious brown-orange smog. But why believe us? Listen to Beatle George. This is not our favorite song from the lads. Not by any stretch. It’d just a item that hits close to home. In our book, Smogtown: the Lung-Burning History of Pollution in Los Angeles, we hit on how air pollution threaded into popular culture, and cite a Doors song about the end of civilization. Brilliant lyrics by the Lizard King no doubt, but the Magic Mystery Tour deserves credit by highlighting smog in all its LA blinding preeminence. Enjoy!

Publishers Weekly — you guys got it, and we’re grateful.

Tuesday, October 21st, 2008

From the PW review:

Encapsulating deftly the worldview, historical context, and public psychology of Southern Californians over a number of decades, Los Angeles journalists Jacobs and Kelly examine the approaches they’ve made to the region’s chronic pollution issues, many of which presage current, nation-wide trends in both pollution and its “Greening.” With casual language and a cinematic sense of the dramatic, Jacobs and Kelly detail the buildup to the famous orange-brown L.A. smog of the 1950s and ’60s: “Just at that moment, the beast started to evolve… Sometime in the late 1950s, legend had it that a hen laid an egg that L.A. pollution unaccountably turned green.” Highlighting the pioneering people and groups that blazed the trail for the environmental movement, Jacobs and Kelly also explore the progress and setbacks established by policymakers, including a famously conflicted Ronald Reagan. Finished with a particularly powerful, forward-looking epilogue, this friendly, accessible history should appeal to any American environmentalist.”

Link: here

Without further ado, may be introduce, drumroll please … a wild, vapory story 65 years in the making

Wednesday, October 1st, 2008

SMOGTOWN: THE LUNG-BURNING HISTORY OF PPOLLUTION IN LOS ANGELES

Publisher: The Overlook Press/Penguin Group USA.
By Chip Jacobs and William J. Kelly
Offical release date: Oct. 14, 2008

Publisher’s Website: click here
Amazon.com: click here

Reviews blurbage so far:

“Remember those great 1950s horror movies, when some superpowerful creature menaced a city while the citizens panicked, law enforcement officials bumbled, politicians pontificated, and plucky scientists worked at a fever pitch to find something, anything, to kill the monster? That’s pretty much the feel of this remarkably entertaining and informative chronicle of the birth and—so far—inexorable evolution of smog … This book is just amazing, a gripping story well told, with the requisite plucky scientists (including Arie Haagen-Smit, a Dutch biochemist who was “the Elvis of his field”), hapless politicians, and a nebulous biochemical villain who just will not be stopped.”
BOOKLIST (Starred)
 
“This colorful history of smog in Los Angeles begins in the 1940s and ends with a warning call for action. Self-proclaimed “survivors” of “L.A.’s greatest crisis,” journalist Jacobs (Wheeling the Deal: The Outrageous Legend of Gordon Zahler, Hollywood’s Flashiest Quadriplegic) and California Energy Circuit senior correspondent Kelly  (Home Safe Home: How to Make Your Home Environmentally Safe) … dredge up the story of smog in all its hazy—and sometimes humorous—permutations. … In this tale of underhanded deals, gritty politics, community organizing and burgeoning environmentalism, the corruption is plentiful and the subplots replete with intrigue. Though the timelines are often confusing, the authors offer a zany and provocative cultural history.”
KIRKUS

“Hip and lively,” an intriguing social history of an environmental problem that won’t go away.” Recommended. 
LIBRARY JOURNAL