Port Town coverThe Book

Port Town is an epic story, an unflinching and comprehensive history of how the people of Long Beach built, defended and profited from their harbor. Written by George and Carmela Cunningham, formerly the publishers of a well-regarded, widely read maritime newsletter, their 500-page book is a page turner, filled with the larger-than-life soldiers of fortune, land-grabbers, lovers, dreamers and builders who were inspired and bewitched by the Port of Long Beach’s mighty promise.

Port Town is an uncompromising look at how the people of Long Beach transformed a “worthless” mud flat into one of the most important ports in the world. It details the successes and the setbacks, the political and legal battles that were fought, and the emergence of the port as the chief asset of the city.

George and Carmela Cunningham tell how Long Beach forged and defended its identity. Port Town is a story of vision, ambition, mistakes, triumphs, and disasters — including a challenge that at one point threatened to physically undermine much of the city. Long Beach was a Navy town, an oil town, an arsenal of freedom during World War II, a manufacturing center, a fish cannery area, a kelp harvesting center, and a shipbuilding hub. Today it is a major American gateway for international trade.

From the time the first load of lumber arrived to help meet the demands of the rapidly growing city to the present, when huge container ships call daily to supply America with the goods from around the world and provide access to the world market for American business, the Port of Long Beach has responded to the needs of both its city and the nation. Port Town is the rousing story of the city and its port — how it came to be and the challenges it faces.

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