University of North Carolina Press
Imperial Metropolis (August 2019) traces the rise of Los Angeles from a small town to a global city against the backdrop of the U.S.-Mexico borderlands, Gilded Age capitalism, and American empire. The book is a far-reaching history of how Los Angeles boosters created a form of urban and imperial capitalism in the borderlands at the end of the nineteenth century and then how the Mexican Revolution transformed those capitalist networks into the twentieth. Drawing on archives from Los Angeles to Mexico City, Jessica Kim explores how financial networks emerging from the Los Angeles urban region drove economic transformations in the borderlands, reshaped social relations across wide swaths of territory, and deployed racial hierarchies to advance investment projects across the border. Imperial Metropolis also explains how the Mexican Revolution remade American investment patterns in Mexico and shows how transnational connections between Los Angeles and Mexico were reconstructed via infrastructure and trade beginning in the 1930s. The book uncovers how Los Angeles’s relationship to the borderlands made it the capital of the American west and the center of trade with Mexico.
The book won the 2020 the Kenneth Jackson Award for best book from the Urban History Association and was a named finalist for the David J. Weber book prize from the Western History Association.