Dreamers and Schemers by Barry Siegel

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What a great 5***** effort by Barry Siegel, who has put together a great history about the early years growth and urban planning in and about Los Angeles, and all of which has an eye on the 10th Olympiad in 1932. While not a complete biography of real estate promotor/salesman, Billy Garland, it is obvious that Garland was one of the prime movers and shakers in the early years of the 20th century. He came to LA due to a lung condition and within years he became one o its biggest boosters. We see the good and the bad of Los Angeles, and while much of the focus is on the constant promotion of Los Angeles as the next great mecca, we also see some of the problems that had to be overcome. Eventually Billy decides that LA should host the 1924 Olympics and is rebuffed by head of the Olympic committee and the games go to Paris, 1928 games to Amsterdam, and finally Los Angeles got its chance and by that time the Depression had hit worldwide. Again, through Garlands sheer energy things finally come around for the 1932 games, which produces the first surplus for an Olympic game city, plus the innovating Olympic Village, the story of which is truly amazing. We meet the athletes, the newspaper owners and editors, celebrities and big wigs who all helped make this a successful Olympic games. A really fine book, and a fun non-fiction read. I found it informative, as well as being a fast and easy read. Barry Siegel really gives us a great look into the life of Billy Garland and the rise of Los Angeles, as well as the inner workings of the Olympic committees.

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