If you ever wondered what it was like to be inside the room when city and country leaders are talking about the future of the Los Angeles, you’ve got to read Zev Yaroslavsky’s memoir.
“Zev’s Los Angeles: From Boyle Heights to the Halls of Power. A Political Memoir,” by Zev Yaroslavsky and Josh Getlin, is a fascinating book covering the extraordinary public service of an unlikely young activist whose unlikely election to the Los Angeles City Council in 1975 coincided with the transformation of Los Angeles into major metropolis.
So much has changed in the city over the past four decades, it’s hard to appreciate what it was like. Fortunately, Yaroslavsky invites you in, sits you down, and gives you the whole story.
“”Zev’s Los Angeles: From Boyle Heights to the Halls of Power,” the autobiography of, well, Zev, revisits the period in which Los Angeles became what we know today: big and complex, multiracial, exciting, divided and far deeper than what meets the eye. Zev Yaroslavsky left a lasting mark on L.A. over decades on the City Council and the Board of Supervisors, and his thoughtful reflections earn his memoir an honored place in the history he helped make and now helps to understand,” wrote Jim Newton in his review of the book for the Los Angeles Times.
The book was seven years in the making, longer than Yaroslavsky had planned, including a one year pause after his beloved wife and life-long partner Barbara Yaroslavsky unexpectedly passed away in 2018. Collaborating with the former high school friend and journalist who covered his career, Josh Getlin, Yaroslavsky worked out the narrative beginning with the his own origin story and a grandfather he never had a chance to meet with but was a powerful influence over his life.
As a trained historian, Yaroslavsky told the Buzz, he’d always planned to write his memoir as account of local government – what he thought they got right and where they made mistakes. And, he said he wished he’d had the benefit of reading similar memoirs from his predecessor and some of his peers.
“We owe it to history to tell our stories. There’s nothing like a first person account to understand what someone was thinking at the time,” said Yaroslavsky.
Even better, you can hear it all from the author himself. Yaroslavsky will be at Chevalier’s Books this evening at 6 p.m. Click here for reservations.