The Mirage Factory: Illusion, Imagination, and the Invention of Los Angeles

Written by:
Gary Krist
Narrated by:
Rob Shapiro

Unabridged Audiobook

Release Date
May 2018
11 hours 55 minutes
From bestselling author Gary Krist, the story of the metropolis that never should have been and the visionaries who dreamed it into reality
Little more than a century ago, the southern coast of California—bone-dry, harbor-less, isolated by deserts and mountain ranges—seemed destined to remain scrappy farmland. Then, as if overnight, one of the world’s iconic cities emerged. At the heart of Los Angeles’ meteoric rise were three flawed visionaries: William Mulholland, an immigrant ditch-digger turned self-taught engineer, designed the massive aqueduct that would make urban life here possible. D.W. Griffith, who transformed the motion picture from a vaudeville-house novelty into a cornerstone of American culture, gave L.A. its signature industry. And Aimee Semple McPherson, a charismatic evangelist who founded a religion, cemented the city’s identity as a center for spiritual exploration.

All were masters of their craft, but also illusionists, of a kind. The images they conjured up—of a blossoming city in the desert, of a factory of celluloid dreamworks, of a community of seekers finding personal salvation under the California sun—were like mirages liable to evaporate on closer inspection. All three would pay a steep price to realize these dreams, in a crescendo of hubris, scandal, and catastrophic failure of design that threatened to topple each of their personal empires. Yet when the dust settled, the mirage that was LA remained.

Spanning the years from 1900 to 1930, The Mirage Factory is the enthralling tale of an improbable city and the people who willed it into existence by pushing the limits of human engineering and imagination.
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Absolutely phenomenal from beginning to end.

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Simone L.

Incredible listen! Wow!! Fascinating history of LA and so well written each chapter leaves you on the edge of your seat wanting more. A complete joy to listen to, I have already recommended to many friends and wish there was a sequel. If you live in LA or Love LA this will surely be an enjoyable listen - and you are guaranteed to learn things about this great city’s history that you never knew. 10/10!

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