The War for Paradise

David K. Randall, in the introduction to “The King and Queen of Malibu,” gives us the highlight reel: In 1887, Frederick Rindge, the sole heir to a Boston fortune, makes his way to Southern California, where he purchases the 13,315-acre tract of land known as Rancho Topanga Malibu Sequit. Though the land is inhospitable in the extreme, Rindge envisions it as an escape from the pressures of business in Los Angeles. When he dies in 1905, he leaves an empire worth $700 million in today’s dollars in his wife’s control. When she dies in 1941, she has lost nearly everything, including the land she has fought to keep private, land we now know as Malibu.

Read The War for Paradise on the Wall Street Journal.