Down in the Valley
West of the West:
Dreamers, Believers, Builders, and Killers in the Golden State
by Mark Arax
$26.95 List Price
Most Californians know the inland agricultural heartland of their state as a smoggy blur. Travelers race through it north and south at eighty miles per hour on Interstate 5, windows rolled up to block the stench of thousands of cattle on megaranches. The rest of the country takes fleeting note of the long, flat San Joaquin Valley only during a periodic food-contamination scare—E. coli–laced spinach, say, or raw milk linked to sick children. In his new collection of essays and reporting, Mark Arax tells us what we are missing.
Arax has a native son’s knowledge of the Central Valley, that part of California that is not mountain or coast, not city or redwood grove. He knows which local politicians turned land sales into a giant Ponzi scheme, which cranks have real political power, and which bureaucrats get things
… full text available to registered users