Wednesday, April 30, 2008


I may have died and gone to book heaven last weekend.

I attended my first Los Angeles Times Festival of Books at UCLA. The experience worked at a lot of different levels for me--as an editor, author, teacher, and reader.

On the Carey McWilliams front, I was definitely in the heartland. Many of his fans were there, and the biography came up twice: once in my question to Jim Newton, the LA Times editor and Earl Warren biographer, and again when Philip Fradkin picked me out of the crowd and mentioned the book. Both moments were televised on C-SPAN that day, I later learned.

It was also a good visit on the Ramparts front. I met and interviewed Robert Scheer and one of his early co-authors, Maurice Zeitlin. That deserves its own treatment, so more on that later.

If that weren't enough, I also had a chance to visit with Judith Freeman (author of The Long Embrace, her book about Raymond and Cissy Chandler) and Anthony Arthur, Upton Sinclair's biographer. Judith gave the 2006 Bonnie Cashin lecture, so we also had that in common.

I'm skipping some very energizing contacts I had with other attendees, but you get the idea. The place was lousy with people who like to read and write about California. I think I found my tribe.

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