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In the Pipeline: History and writing are in the blood

July 23, 2013|By Chris Epting
  • Charles Epting, 19, poses with the first copy of his new book, "University Park, Los Angeles - A Brief History" from The History Press.
Charles Epting, 19, poses with the first copy of his new… (Chris Epting )

A young Huntington Beach author has just published his first book.

It's a history book that manages to uncover many unique and interesting facts of which most people may be unaware.

When the author moved to Huntington Beach at around 5 years old, he had the good fortune of being able to spend many hours with the city historian, Alicia Wentworth. She would show him old pictures and give him Huntington Beach artifacts like pins from long-gone parades and various city anniversaries.

He would pore over black and white photographs scattered across her office floor at City Hall while his father took notes, interviewing Alicia for his own book project.

The young author is my son, Charles Epting. He'll turn 20 next week and is about to enter his junior year at USC. When I was working on my first book about Huntington Beach and would visit Alicia to pick her remarkable brain, she and Charlie became fast friends.

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He has always had an interest in history. When he was about 5 years old, he announced that he wanted to be a paleontologist. Since then, he has worked at many dig sites around the United States with some of the best paleontologists in the world. In fact, he went to USC so he could continue working in the lab at the nearby Museum of Natural History.

But it's not just 100 million-year-old bones that he's interested in. Like me, he also has a deep passion for more recent history, things that happened in the last 100 years or so.

I think Alicia would be proud to see Charlie's new book, "University Park — Los Angeles, A Brief History," just published by The History Press.

After he became a student at USC, Charlie began studying the history of the surrounding area. He found so many significant things that he decided to pitch a book idea. And while, yes, I might be biased as his father, I will tell you quite honestly that once he let me read his completed manuscript, I think I was just as impressed as I would have been had I never met him.

Here is how his publisher describes the book: "University Park is one of Los Angeles's most diverse and historic neighborhoods. Beginning with the founding of the University of Southern California in 1880, the area has hosted two Olympic Games and numerous presidents and been featured as a backdrop for dozens of movies, along with countless other events of cultural and historical significance.

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