To clear space for Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles tore down low-income housing with a large Latinx community. Nusbaum tells the stories of the people whose homes were destroyed, their conflict with the bureaucrats and money men of Los Angeles, and shows how their lives were overrun by the wheel of history.
Stealing Home is a scrupulously detailed account, written in novelistic, economical prose ... Nusbaum’s history is more than just a nostalgic paean or a jeremiad; the history of public housing and so-called 'slum clearance' is too tangled for that. Nusbaum is mindful of the fact that it was the city, not the team, that kicked the families out. And the city’s initial intentions were ostensibly noble ... Nusbaum keeps the book’s focus personal.
Nusbaum...takes a deep dive into that story from the point of view of one family, as well as a few other figures lost to history, save for the excellent research he has done here. However, there are times when readers might wonder why Nusbaum has bothered to include some seemingly minor details that have no bearing on the overall story, other than to use those uncovered nuggets, such as the tragic death of a young boy or the marital infidelities of a resident of the pre-Dodger Stadium area. He is taking a big risk that his audience will stick with this meandering tale to get to the payoff. Frankly, there are other books that do a more effective job of reporting how the move from Brooklyn to L.A. all fell into place. Stealing Home is more about the people ... But if you’re a 'detective,' someone who relishes finding all the little clues and Easter eggs en route to a bigger payoff, stick with it.
A well-known tale of racial injustice given a fresh look ... [an] illuminating narrative ... Nusbaum does good work by reminding readers of what was lost in the name of municipal bragging rights. Provocative, essential reading for students of California history.