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City of Quartz: Excavating the Future in Los Angeles

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Overview

No metropolis has been more loved or more hated. To its official boosters, “Los Angeles brings it all together.” To detractors, LA is a sunlit mortuary where “you can rot without feeling it.” To Mike Davis, the author of this fiercely elegant and wide- ranging work of social history, Los Angeles is both utopia and dystopia, a place where the last Joshua trees are being plowed under to make room for model communities in the desert, where the rich have hired their own police to ...

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City of Quartz: Excavating the Future in Los Angeles

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Overview

No metropolis has been more loved or more hated. To its official boosters, “Los Angeles brings it all together.” To detractors, LA is a sunlit mortuary where “you can rot without feeling it.” To Mike Davis, the author of this fiercely elegant and wide- ranging work of social history, Los Angeles is both utopia and dystopia, a place where the last Joshua trees are being plowed under to make room for model communities in the desert, where the rich have hired their own police to fend off street gangs, as well as armed Beirut militias. 

In City of Quartz, Davis reconstructs LA’s shadow history and dissects its ethereal economy. He tells us who has the power and how they hold on to it. He gives us a city of Dickensian extremes, Pynchonesque conspiracies, and a desperation straight out of Nathaniel Westa city in which we may glimpse our own future mirrored with terrifying clarity.

In this new edition, Davis provides a dazzling update on the city’s current status.

To its official boosters, "Los Angeles brings it all together." To its detractors, it is "The Big Nowhere." No one has better captured L.A.'s bizarre role as both utopia and dystopia than Davis, the author of this mordantly elegant and wide-ranging work of social criticism and prophecy which was nominated for the National Book Critics Circle Award. 40 photographs.

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Editorial Reviews

San Francisco Examiner
“Few books shed as much light on their subjects as this opinionated and original excavation of Los Angeles from the mythical debris of its past and future.”
Peter Ackroyd - The Times
“A history as fascinating as it is instructive.”
William Gibson
“Absolutely fascinating.”
The Times - Peter Ackroyd
“A history as fascinating as it is instructive.”
From the Publisher
“Absolutely fascinating.”—William Gibson

“Few books shed as much light on their subjects as this opinionated and original excavation of Los Angeles from the mythical debris of its past and future.”—San Francisco Examiner

“A history as fascinating as it is instructive.”—Peter Ackroyd, The Times

Library Journal
Eschewing the character study that comprises most Los Angeles history, Davis concentrates on the ongoing and ignored ethnic and class struggles, formerly manifested by booster (pro-growth) exploitation, now replaced by exclusionary (no-growth) neighborhood incorporation, and by police control of Afro-American and Latino neighborhoods. His analysis of recent Los Angeles history is often chilling and--sad to say--more true than false. Small inaccuracies sometimes afflict the narrative, and the breathlessness of Davis's writing will probably confuse readers who are unfamilar with the region. But these criticisms quibble with an otherwise important and necessary work. Recommended.-- Tim Zindel, Hastings Coll . of the Law, San Francisco
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781844675685
  • Publisher: Verso Books
  • Publication date: 9/19/2006
  • Edition description: REV
  • Pages: 441
  • Sales rank: 451,340
  • Product dimensions: 5.42 (w) x 8.23 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Mike Davis is the author of several books including Planet of Slums, City of Quartz, Ecology of Fear, Late Victorian Holocausts, and Magical Urbanism. He was recently awarded a MacArthur Fellowship. He lives in Papa’aloa, Hawaii.

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Table of Contents

Preface
Prologue: The View from Futures Past 1
Chapter 1 Sunshine or Noir? 15
Chapter 2 Power Lines 99
Chapter 3 Homegrown Revolution 151
Chapter 4 Fortress L.A. 221
Chapter 5 The Hammer and the Rock 265
Chapter 6 New Confessions 323
Chapter 7 Junkyard of Dreams 373
Index 441
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Customer Reviews

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