Wednesday, October 29, 2008

SMOGTOWN: The Lung-Burning History of Pollution in Los Angeles Featured in LA Times

Chip Jacobs and William J. Kelly's Smogtown gets a hometown rave from the Los Angeles Times: “Smogtown is a regional history for the layperson, focusing slightly more on civic drama and scandal than hard science and legislative details. The cover promises "A Cautionary Tale of Environmental Crisis," and the archival photos show "smog suits" for sale on downtown streets and children clutching dolls in their own miniature gas masks. Jacobs and Kelly bring a combination of alt-weekly sensibility and public service gravitas to their account. Evidenced by chapter titles like "Bouffants & Stethoscopes" and "The Wizard of Ozone," the authors apply humor to a grave subject, though entertaining thematic organization sometimes trumps clear chronology. However, the book is not lacking in historical heft. Instead, style delivers substance in true Hollywood fashion, with character-driven plots draped in glamour and sensation. Whether we learn about photochemical pollution via a renegade Caltech scientist or travel with a group of Beverly Hills socialites as they embrace environmental activism, the history of smog has never been so sexy.”

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