J. G. Boswell was the biggest farmer in America. He built a secret empire while thumbing his nose at nature, politicians, labor unions, and every journalist who ever tried to lift the veil on the ultimate "factory in the fields". The King of California is the previously untold account of how a Georgia slave-owning family migrated to California in the early 1920s, drained one of America 's biggest lakes in an act of incredible hubris and carved out the richest cotton empire in the world. Indeed, the sophistication of Boswell 's agricultural operation - from lab to field to gin - is unrivaled anywhere.
Much more than a business story, this is a sweeping social history that details the saga of cotton growers who were chased from the South by the boll weevil and brought their black farmhands to California. It is a gripping read with cameos by a cast of famous characters, from Cecil B. DeMille to Cesar Chavez.
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Good book about the southern San Joaquin
This book is a must for residents of the southern San Joaquin Valley. It delves into the history of the Valley for the past 150 or so years, and covers the amazing transformation the Valley has seen, not always for the best.
The narrator was very inconsistent with the pronunciations of last names and towns. He flips between the correct and incorrect pronunciation of several towns. For example "Delano" is correctly pronounced "De lane oh" but half the time he says "De lahn oh". Why it was not edited to have correct pronunciation all the way through is a mystery to me. His inflection was not always on the correct word in the sentence The narration was adequate but annoying.
I think the authors portrayed the big farmers fairly and accurately.
- Alice H
Interesting story of California Ag history