The King and Queen of Malibu: The True Story of the Battle for Paradise

Norton. Mar. 2016. 256p. photos. bibliog. ISBN 9780393240993. $26.95; ebk. ISBN 9780393292930. BIOG
Journalist Randall (Dreamland) steps away from his usual brand of contemporary nonfiction to tackle a topic more historical in nature—that of the development of Malibu, CA. The son of a wealthy Massachusetts family, Frederick Rindge and his wife, May, moved to Los Angeles in 1887 to start their married life and soon carved out a place for themselves in the upper echelon of the not-quite-tamed Western city. They purchased Malibu Rancho as their private retreat and were steadfast in refusing to have the land used for railroads, highways, or real estate development. Even after Frederick's death, May fought all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court to preserve the natural coastal landscape—a battle she lost in Rindge Co. v. County of Los Angeles (1923) as the power of eminent domain granted the county the right to take land from private landowners for the growth of scenic highways. Well researched using primary source documents, this engaging book deftly weaves the story of a family whose choices shaped the progress of the California coast.
VERDICT Readers interested in U.S. and California history, Western expansion, political science, or biography will find this an excellent addition to their collection.
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