The King Of California: J.G. Boswell and the Making of A Secret American Empire (Paperback)
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The fascinating story of a cotton magnate whose voracious appetite for land drove him to create the first big agricultural empire of the Central Valley of California, and shaped the landscape for decades to come.
J.G. Boswell was the biggest farmer in America. He 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." 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.
About the Author
Mark Arax is a bestselling author and journalist whose writings on California and the West have received numerous awards for literary nonfiction. A former staffer at the Los Angeles Times, his work has appeared in the New York Times and the California Sunday Magazine. His books include The Dreamt Land, In My Father's Name, West of the West, and the bestselling The King of California, which won a California Book Award, the William Saroyan Prize from Stanford University and was named a top book of 2004 by the L.A. Times. He lives in Fresno.