Books about the Port of Los Angeles

The Port of Los Angeles has served Southern California for more than a century, by bringing ships and their cargo to the area, aiding the military through several major wars, and establishing Los Angeles as a major presence on the international maritime scene. Because of the Port, Los Angeles is the key that has opened North America to the Pacific Rim and brought the world closer together. Over the years, the Port of Los Angeles has collaborated with a number of authors to help tell its story. With in-depth research and images from the Port archives, the history of the Port comes to life, while exploring the development of Los Angeles from pueblo to major metropolis.

The following selection of books have been published about the Port of Los Angeles and are available for purchase online. Before purchasing, check the Los Angeles Public Library to see if the book you are interested in is available at a branch near you.

A Cleaner Port. A Brighter Future. The Greening of the Port of Los Angeles 

Robyn C. Friend and Judith Love Cohen

This book tells the story of the Port of Los Angeles: how the Port was founded, its importance in bringing you goods made overseas, shipping products made in your town to people in other parts of the world, and what the Port of Los Angeles has done to make its operations as clean and green as possible.

Destination Los Angeles 

Dianne MacMillan

Port Cities of North America takes readers on a tour of 12 major ports. Each title explores the port city, the harbor facilities, and the port's history and follows the movment of goods that enter and leave the port. Desination Los Angeles introduces readers to the Port of Los Angeles, one of the largest seaports in North America. Its West Coast location makes it a hub for import and export trade with Pacific Rim nations. An ongoing development project continues to furnish users of the port with state-of-the-art facilities and equipment.

Images of America: The Port of Los Angeles

Michael D. White

The epic of the Port of Los Angeles was initiated more than 150 years ago by a handful of visionaries and entrepreneurs who exploited both fortunate and outrageous circumstances to transform a tidal mudflat into the world's largest man-made harbor. Phineas Banning and archrival Augustus Timms were among the first to realize the potential of the coastal dent on the map called San Pedro Bay in the 1850s. The bay's namesake village expanded from a backwater loading point for raw cattle hides to a deepwater harbor rivaling and eventually surpassing San Francisco as the busiest port on the U.S. Pacific coast, and would later become the nation's largest container port. Political battles in far-off Washington, D.C., economic booms and depressions, world wars, and billions of tons of cargo and material later, the Port of Los Angeles remains America's premier revolving door for trade with markets around the world.

Port of Los Angeles: An Illustrated History From 1850 to 1945

Ernest Marquez and Veronique de Turenne

On December 9, 1907, the Los Angeles City Council created the Los Angeles Board of Harbor Commissioners, marking the official founding of the Port of Los Angeles. From then on the Port bustled with longshoremen, commercial fishermen, cannery workers, shipbuilders and ships, ships, and more ships. Port of Los Angeles is filled with more than 275 vintage images that show a Port succeeding beyond the wildest dreams of its founders. It's a maritime hisotry must-have!

Port of Los Angeles: A Phenomenon of the Railroad Era

Ernest Marquez

Wonderful history of the early days of Los Angeles illustrated with amazing photos of the early sailing ships and railroads. The book focuses on the work, ultimately unsuccessful, of Collis P. Huntington and John P. Jones to make Port Los Angeles in Santa Monica into a major seaport. Extensive maps of Long Wharf and the various SP tracks, including one that folds out. 172 pages with index and bibliography.

The Port of Los Angeles

Jane Sprague

Poetry. "Part post-industrial sea chantey, part epiphany against the 'economies of loss' that expand exponentially with each morning's news that struggles to stay news, Jane Sprague's THE PORT OF LOS ANGELES offers us a rare and varied thick description (with Whitmanesque undertows) of those moments when our living-breathing-trying-to-pay-the bills-selves meet the vast expanse that is the seemingly boundless sea. 'John Steinbeck was right,' the poet writes. And Jane Sprague certainly is, too"--Mark Nowak.

The Port of Los Angeles: From Wilderness to World Port

Charles F. Queenan

This is the story of the Port of Los Angeles - an extraordinary monument to the power of human energy, vision, and selflessness. Indeed, the history of its growth and development incorporates so many of the elements of high drama that it reads like the inspirational fiction of turn-of-the-century America. It is, in fact, a rich and pungent slice of authentic frontier Americana in its purest form...

Postcard History Series: San Pedro Bay

Joe McKinzie 

The name "San Pedro Bay" meant Los Angeles Harbor through the 20th century, but the vestiges of that original, rustic, fishing village-like identity still cling to the port community that, through its proximity to the city of Los Angeles, grew into one of the world's largest centers of importing and exporting. The bay has served commercial fishermen, the U.S. Army, Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard, the sailing yachts of the very wealthy, and the dinghies of the disenfranchised. Today, tugboats guide gargantuan oceangoing cargo ships under the towering gantry cranes for off-loading, and enormous cruise ships call the Port of Los Angeles home.

Terminal Island: Lost Communities of Los Angeles Harbor

Naomi Hirahara and Geraldine Knatz

The book records life and industry on the island from early settlers in the mid-1800s to the aftermath of World War II.  Today, Terminal Island houses much of the Port’s cargo operations, but years ago it was home to thousands of Japanese-Americans, who were later removed from the island after Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. “Terminal lsland: Lost Communities of Los Angeles Harbor” is written by author/journalist Naomi Hirahara and former Port of Los Angeles Executive Director Geraldine Knatz, Ph.D.  It is co-published by the Port of Los Angeles and Angel City Press. The book is available for purchase at the Japanese-American Museum, Los Angeles Maritime Museum, Point Fermin Lighthouse, and San Pedro Bay Historical Society. It is also part of the collection at the Los Angeles Public Library.

Work on the Waterfront

William Finlay

Presenting an ethnographic account of longshoremen in California, this book examines how they have been affected by various technological changes in this industry. It shows that despite the profound impact of technologies, these workers have retained much of their influence over production, their autonomy at work, and their skill on the job.