"When Mark Arax and Rick Wartzman set out to write the story of James Griffin Boswell II and his hold on the geographical heart of California, they knew they had a cagey subject on their hands. For a half century he had stood atop a secret empire while thumbing his nose at nature, politicians, labor unions and every journalist who had tried to lift the veil on the ultimate "factory in the fields." Upon first meeting Boswell, it was easy to think of him as just another farmer tooling around in his dusty pickup. But this was a titan who owned more agricultural acreage and controlled more river water than any other land baron in the West. He grew more cotton than anyone on the planet, and he grew cities, too, including the first major retirement community in the country - Sun City, Arizona." "The King of California is a narrative that will carry readers from the Catholic fathers who built their missions up and down El Camino Real to the psychotic murderers incarcerated at the infamous Corcoran State Prison. Along the way, Arax and Wartzman tell the story of how the Boswells, a Georgia slave-owning family who migrated from California in the early 1920s, drained one of. America's biggest lakes and carved out the richest cotton kingdom in the world. It is the biography of a forbidding landscape tamed by the vision of one man. From the clay bottoms of old Tulare lake to the corridors of Washington, Jim Boswell had won just about every battle. And yet the question lingered: Was his farming miracle worth the heavy price that America had paid?"--Jacket.