Los Angeles pulsed with economic vitality and demographic growth in the decades following World War II. This vividly detailed cultural history of L.A. from 1940 to 1970 traces the rise of a new suburban consciousness adopted by a generation of migrants who abandoned older American cities for Southern California's booming urban region. Eric Avila explores expressions of this new "white identity" in popular culture with provocative discussions of Hollywood and film noir, Dodger Stadium, Disneyland, and L.A.'s renowned freeways. These institutions not only mirrored this new culture of suburban whiteness and helped shape it, but also, as Avila argues, reveal the profound relationship between the increasingly fragmented urban landscape of Los Angeles and the rise of a new political outlook that rejected the tenets of New Deal liberalism and anticipated the emergence of the New Right.
Avila examines disparate manifestations of popular culture in architecture, art, music, and more to illustrate the unfolding urban dynamics of postwar Los Angeles. He also synthesizes important currents of new research in urban history, cultural studies, and critical race theory, weaving a textured narrative about the interplay of space, cultural representation, and identity amid the westward shift of capital and culture in postwar America.