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25 сентября 2009 | Автор: Admin | Рубрика: Художественные книги » Мемуары. Биографии | Комментариев: 0
Richard Rayner, "A Bright and Guilty Place: Murder, Corruption, and L.A.'s Scandalous Coming of Age"
Doubleday | 2009 | ISBN: 0385509707 | 301 pages | siPDF | 6.8 MB
A captivating chronicle of how the City of Angels lost its soul.
In the 1920s Los Angeles was the fastest growing city in the world, mad with oil fever, get-rich-quick schemes, celebrity scandals, and religious fervor. It was also rife with organized crime, with a mayor in the pocket of the syndicates and a DA taking bribes to throw trials. In A Bright and Guilty Place, Richard Rayner narrates the entwined lives of two men, Dave Clark and Leslie White, who were caught up in the crimes, murders, and swindles of the day. Over a few transformative years, as the boom times shaded into the Depression, the adventures of Clark and White would inspire pulp fiction and replace L.A.’s reckless optimism with a new cynicism. Together, theirs is the tale of how the city of sunshine got noir.
When A Bright and Guilty Place begins, Leslie White is a nave young photographer who lands a job as a crime-scene investigator in the L.A. district attorney’s office. There he meets Dave Clark, a young, movie-star handsome lawyer and a rising star prosecutor with big ambitions. The cases they tried were some of the first "trials of the century," starring dark-hearted oil barons, sexually perverse starlets, and hookers with hearts of gold. Los Angeles was in the grip of organized crime, and White was dismayed to see that only the innocent paid while the powerful walked free. But Clark was entranced by L.A.’s dangerous lures and lived the high life, marrying a beautiful woman, wearing custom-made suits, yachting with the rich and powerful, and jaunting off to Mexico for gambling and girls. In a shocking twist, when Charlie Crawford, the Al Capone of L.A., was found dead, the chief suspect was none other than golden boy Dave Clark.
A Bright and Guilty Place is narrative nonfiction at its most gripping. Key to the tale are the story of the theft of water from the Owens River Valley that let L.A. grow; the Teapot Dome scandal that brought shame to President Harding; and the emergence of crime writers like Raymond Chandler and James M. Cain, who helped mythologize L.A. In Rayner’s hands, the ballad of Dave Clark is the story of the coming of age of a great American city.
From Publishers Weekly
In his unfocused history of crime-ridden Los Angeles in the 1920s, nonfiction writer and novelist Rayner (The Associates) touches on too many scandals—and scandalous characters—to make his account coherent. Leslie White, the young and idealistic DA's investigator (and, later, pulp fiction writer) seems like the only honest man in town, especially compared with the likes of promising prosecutor-turned-murder-suspect Dave Clark.
Before the Depression hit, L.A. was swimming in wealth, not only from the burgeoning Hollywood studios but also from the oil boom. White saw firsthand how deep the city's corruption ran, from organized crime boss Charlie Crawford's System, whose tentacles reached the highest echelons of politics and law enforcement, to the press, always ravenous for another sensational story, a circulation-boosting crusade. Crawford's brutal murder in 1931 and star prosecutor Clark's emergence as the prime suspect is only one of the tales Rayner touches on in his chaotic chronicle of the city. Despite cameos by familiar faces—including noir master Raymond Chandler—readers may be overwhelmed by the onslaught of details, intriguing as they might be.
Tags: qHistory, qLosAngeles, qCrime, qPolitics
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