Davis, Margaret Leslie 1958–

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Davis, Margaret Leslie 1958–

(Margaret L. Davis)

PERSONAL:

Born February 19, 1958. Education: Georgetown University, B.A.

ADDRESSES:

Home—Los Angeles, CA. E-mail—[email protected]

CAREER:

Lawyer and writer.

AWARDS, HONORS:

Golden Spur Award, nonfiction, Western Writers of America, 1993, for Rivers in the Desert: William Mulholland and the Inventing of Los Angeles.

WRITINGS:

Lovers, Doctors, and the Law: Your Legal Rights and Responsibilities in Today's Sex-Health Crisis, Perennial Library (New York, NY), 1988.

Rivers in the Desert: William Mulholland and the Inventing of Los Angeles, HarperCollins Publishers (New York, NY), 1993, new edition, Olmstead Press (Chicago, IL), 2001.

Bullocks Wilshire, Balcony Press (Los Angeles, CA), 1996.

Dark Side of Fortune: Triumph and Scandal in the Life of Oil Tycoon Edward L. Doheny, University of California Press (Berkeley, CA), 1998.

Children's Hospital and the Leaders of Los Angeles: The First 100 Years, Children's Hospital Los Angeles (Los Angeles, CA), 2002.

The Culture Broker: Franklin D. Murphy and the Transformation of Los Angeles, University of California Press (Berkeley, CA), 2007.

SIDELIGHTS:

In Rivers in the Desert: William Mulholland and the Inventing of Los Angeles, Margaret Leslie Davis offers what a Publishers Weekly reviewer considered an "arresting" biography of her subject, a water department engineer whose design of the Owens Valley Aqueduct resulted in the expansive growth of Los Angeles in the early twentieth century. The project, completed in 1913, brought river water from 250 miles north of Los Angeles into the arid metropolitan region, enabling development of a region that would otherwise have stagnated. As Davis explains, Mulholland pioneered the use of new technologies, including hydraulic sluicing, in the United States; this technology was later used in construction of the Panama Canal. The engineer achieved great renown for the Owens Valley project, but he fell into a major depression when a part of the project, the St. Francis Dam, collapsed in 1928. The book, which the Publishers Weekly writer hailed as a "gripping" story, won the Western Writers of America's Golden Spur Award for nonfiction.

Dark Side of Fortune: Triumph and Scandal in the Life of Oil Tycoon Edward L. Doheny examines Doheny's role in the Teapot Dome scandal of 1922, which involved the leasing of U.S. oil reserves administered by Secretary of the Interior Albert Fall to Harry F. Sinclair of Sinclair Oil and to Doheny, head of Pan American Petroleum. Fall was convicted of accepting a 100,000-dollar bribe from Doheny and spent time in prison, but at his own trial Doheny argued that the money had been just a friendly loan, and was acquitted of bribery. Even so, the scandal hurt Davis's business and his reputation, and led to the death of his only son in a murder-suicide case. Davis's view of Doheny, which focuses on the aftermath of the affair, is basically sympathetic. Indeed, Booklist reviewer Frank Caso commented that Dark Side of Fortune comes close to being a revisionist history and is obviously aimed at restoring Doheny's good name.

Writing in Business History, Albert J. Churella praised the book as an "entertaining and eminently well written account of Doheny's life," but added that it is "likely to disappoint readers searching for Doheny's role in Latin American economic development, the evolution of integrated big business enterprises, or the increasing social and political influence of business executives in the Progressive Era." Dark Side of Fortune became a Los Angeles Times best seller.

Davis returns to Los Angeles history in The Culture Broker: Franklin D. Murphy and the Transformation of Los Angeles. The book is the first full-length biography of Franklin D. Murphy, who served as chancellor of University of California at Los Angeles and later as chief executive of the Times Mirror media conglomerate. Murphy had a wide circle of powerful friends and associates, including such wealthy families as the Rockefellers, Fords, Mellons, and Annenbergs, and he used his influence to persuade them to invest in cultural institutions that would benefit Los Angeles. Largely because of Murphy's "culture brokerage," Los Angeles evolved from a provincial city into a capital of global culture.

A lawyer who lives in Los Angeles, Davis has also written on the subject of health care. Her Lovers, Doctors, and the Law: Your Legal Rights and Responsibilities in Today's Sex-Health Crisis provides information and guidance about matters relating to sex and health. Her Children's Hospital and the Leaders of Los Angeles: The First 100 Years looks at the history of that hospital from its founding in 1901 through its evolution into a world-class research and teaching institution.

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Booklist, July, 1993, Mary Carroll, review of Rivers in the Desert: William Mulholland and the Inventing of Los Angeles, p. 1940; October 15, 1998, Frank Caso, review of Dark Side of Fortune: Triumph and Scandal in the Life of Oil Tycoon Edward L. Doheny, p. 373.

Business History, October, 1999, Albert J. Churella, review of Dark Side of Fortune, p. 151.

Business Week, July 11, 1994, review of Rivers in the Desert, p. 20.

Harvard Law Review, June, 1988, review of Lovers, Doctors, and the Law: Your Legal Rights and Responsibilities in Today's Sex-Health Crisis, p. 1984.

Journal of American History, December, 1994, Lawrence B. Lee, review of Rivers in the Desert, p. 1334; December, 1999, Richard Harris, review of Dark Side of Fortune, p. 1377.

Library Journal, May 1, 1988, Judith Eannarino, review of Lovers, Doctors, and the Law, p. 86; November 1, 1988, review of Lovers, Doctors, and the Law, p. 44; July, 1993, Gary Williams, review of Rivers in the Desert, p. 94.

Los Angeles Lawyer, January, 1994, Jeffrey C. Freedman, review of Rivers in the Desert, p. 55; May, 1999, Anthony J. Mohr, review of Dark Side of Fortune, p. 64.

Los Angeles Times, September 23, 2007, Jim Newton, review of The Culture Broker: Franklin D. Murphy and the Transformation of Los Angeles.Newsweek, July 5, 1993, Malcolm Jones, review of Rivers in the Desert, p. 55.

Pacific Historical Review, February, 2001, Rebecca J. Mead, review of Dark Side of Fortune, p. 126.

Publishers Weekly, May 31, 1993, review of Rivers in the Desert, p. 38.

Wisconsin Bar Bulletin, August, 1988, Francis D. Collins, review of Lovers, Doctors, and the Law, p. 38.

ONLINE

Margaret Leslie Davis Home Page,http://margaretlesliedavis.com (April 13, 2008).

University of California Press Web site,http://www.ucpress.edu/ (April 14. 2008), synopsis of The Culture Broker.