In the celebration in words and photographs of their respective subjects, San Pedro: A Pictorial History (San Pedro Bay Historical Society, P.O. Box 1568, San Pedro, Calif. 90733: $27.95) and Historic Torrance (Legends Press, P.O. Box 10304, Torrance, Calif. 90505: $46) dispel the cliche that Los Angeles is just an amorphous mass of suburbs held together by a mesh of crowded freeways. Though the writing in spots is strained and the design cluttered, the efforts clearly convey the sense of history and place that mark each community, that have made them attractive places to live. Nice, if costly, remembrances for residents.

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