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Dreamers and Schemers

Dreamers and Schemers

Coming October 29th

Dreamers and Schemers chronicles how Los Angeles's pursuit and staging of the 1932 Olympic Games during the depths of the Great Depression helped fuel the city's transformation from a seedy frontier village to a world-famous metropolis. Leading that pursuit was the "Prince of Realtors," William May (Billy) Garland, a prominent figure in early Los Angeles. In important respects, the story of Billy Garland is the story of Los Angeles.

After arriving in Southern California in 1890, Garland helped drive much of the city's historic expansion in the first two decades of the twentieth century, and then, from 1920 to 1932, he directed the city's bid for the 1932 Olympic Games. His quest to host the Olympics provides an unusually revealing window onto a particular time, place, and way of life. Reconstructing the narrative from Garland's visionary notion to its consequential aftermath, Barry Siegel shows how one man's grit and imagination made California history.

Indiebound Amazon


"Dreamers and Schemers brings alive a rollicking era when Los Angeles came of age, even as the world plunged into war and the Great Depression. What a remarkable tale. This is masterful storytelling."
   —Gay Talese

"Dreamers and Schemers is engrossing, outlandish, fascinating, and a reading delight. It pulls the curtain back on a great piece of LA history—the 1932 Olympics—and manages to tell the entire story of the city's rise. A pleasure for anyone who loves a well-told tale."
   —Susan Orlean, author of The Library Book

University of California Press, Hardcover, October 2019, ISBN: 978-0520298583