The Journal of San Diego History
Fall 1974, Volume 20, Number 4

Book Notes

Los Angeles and Its Environs in the Twentieth Century. A Bibliography of a Metropolis. Compiled under the Auspices of the Los Angeles Metropolitan History Project. Foreword by Mrs. Fletcher Bowron. Edited with an Introduction by Doyce B. Nunis, Jr. Los Angeles: The Ward Ritchie Press, 1973. Author and Subject Index. 501 pages. $35.00.

A megalopolis such as the Los Angeles area deserves nothing less than a mega-bibliography. In this handsomely printed and judiciously-edited volume, Los Angeles has gotten what it deserves. With the assistance of the staff of the Los Angeles Metropolitan History Project, the tireless and prolific historian Doyce Nunis has assembled a bibliography of nearly 10,000 items on Los Angeles and environs. These entries, many of which are annotated when the title does not clearly indicate their contents, concern Los Angeles only in the twentieth century. Unlike many bibliographies, this one includes unpublished M.A. and Ph.D. dissertations.

The topic headings under which the entries are arranged include nearly all important aspects of contemporary life, from agriculture to welfare and aircraft to water supply. In evaluating the contents of the bibliography, Nunis finds that four of the region’s most pressing problems are well represented: education, public transportation, traffic, and water supply. Under-represented are such matters as ecology, fire protection, housing, law enforcement, and public health. History, it seems to this reviewer, also falls in the latter category. Certainly this bibliography points the way toward topics which will lend themselves to a historical approach.

Because of the range of subjects treated in this massive work, it will surely serve a wide variety of persons in and out of the Los Angeles area. We in San Diego can only hope to have a similar reference work one day. For now, it is small comfort to note that Los Angeles has no index to its newspapers comparable to that which the San Diego’ Public Library maintains for the local Copley papers.