Complete your Mike Davis bookshelf!
The legendary Marxist thinker and activist Mike Davis has been exploring political power and social class for the past three decades. As a long-time editor at New Left Review, and contributor to Los Angeles Review of Books, Socialist Review and others, his sharp analysis and glittering prose criss-crosses over urban studies, political economy, social theory, and US history to reveal the ravages of global capitalism on people and planet as well as areas for resistance.
Davis explores Marx’s inquiries into two key questions of our time: Who can lead a revolutionary transformation of society? And what is the cause—and solution—of the planetary environmental crisis? Davis presents a critique of the current fetishism of the “anthropocene,” which suppresses the links between the global employment crisis and capitalism’s failure to ensure human survival in a more extreme climate.
In City of Quartz, Davis reconstructs L.A.’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.
Prisoners of the American Dream is Mike Davis’s brilliant exegesis of a persistent and major analytical problem for Marxist historians and political economists: Why has the world’s most industrially advanced nation never spawned a mass party of the working class? This series of essays surveys the history of the American bourgeois democratic revolution from its Jacksonian beginnings to the rise of the New Right and the re-election of Ronald Reagan, concluding with some bracing thoughts on the prospects for progressive politics in the United States.
According to the United Nations, more than one billion people now live in the slums of the cities of the South. In this brilliant and ambitious book, Mike Davis explores the future of a radically unequal and explosively unstable urban world. From the sprawling barricadas of Lima to the garbage hills of Manila, urbanization has been disconnected from industrialization, and even from economic growth. Davis portrays a vast humanity warehoused in shantytowns and exiled from the formal world economy.
Late Victorian Holocausts focuses on three zones of drought and subsequent famine: India, Northern China; and Northeastern Brazil. All were affected by the same global climatic factors that caused massive crop failures, and all experienced brutal famines that decimated local populations. But the effects of drought were magnified in each case because of singularly destructive policies promulgated by different ruling elites. Davis argues that the seeds of underdevelopment in what later became known as the Third World were sown in this era of High Imperialism, as the price for capitalist modernization was paid in the currency of millions of peasants’ lives.
On a September day in 1920, an angry Italian anarchist named Mario Buda exploded a horse-drawn wagon filled with dynamite and iron scrap near New York’s Wall Street, killing 40 people. Since Buda’s prototype the car bomb has evolved into a “poor man’s air force,” a generic weapon of mass destruction that now craters cities from Bombay to Oklahoma City. In this provocative history, Mike Davis traces the its worldwide use and development, in the process exposing the role of state intelligence agencies—particularly those of the United States, Israel, India, and Pakistan—in globalizing urban terrorist techniques.
Is the capital of Latin America a small island at the mouth of the Hudson River? Will California soon hold the balance of power in Mexican national politics? Will Latinos reinvigorate the US labor movement? These are some of the provocative questions that Mike Davis explores in this fascinating account of the Latinization of the US urban landscape. As he forefully shows, this is a demographic and cultural revolution with extraordinary implications.