Zenosbooks

(04/16/2008) City Of Quartz: Excavating The Future In Los Angeles by Mike Davis. New York. 1991. Verso. Photographs By Robert Morrow. keywords: Los Angeles History Politics. 462 pages. Jacket designed by Paul Burcher. Photograph by Robert Morrow shows Metropolitan Detention Center, Downtown L. A. 0860913031. November 1990.

Los Angeles as one rarely gets to see it - the history, the politics, the architecture.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   It is the story of Los Angeles with an acute eye for the absurd, the unjust, and even the dangerous. 'The ultimate world historical significance - and oddity - of Los Angeles is that it has come to play the double role of utopia and dystopia for advanced capitalism. The same place, as Brecht noted, symbolizes both heaven and hell. Correspondingly, it is an essential destination on the itinerary of any late-twentieth-century intellectual, who must eventually come to take a peep and render some opinion on whether 'Los Angeles Brings It All Together' or is, rather, the Nightmare at the terminus of American history. In this taut and compulsive exploration, Mike Davis recounts the story of Los Angeles with passion, wit and an acute eye for the absurd, the unjust and, often, the dangerous. As the Joshua trees are ripped from the desert by developers of walled communities protected by 'armed response' security, as yet more concrete is poured to defend Japanese real estate from desperate migrants without work or hope, as a stew of greed, megalomania and corruption wreaks ever more havoc on his native city, Davis's elegiac tale points to a future in which the sublime and the dreadful are inextricable. That future does not belong to Southern California alone. Terrifyingly, it belongs to us all.

Unlike most writers on Southern California, Mike Davis is a native son. He was born in Fontana in 1946 and grew up in Bostonia, a now 'lost' hamlet east of San Diego. A former meatcutter and long-distance truckdriver, he teaches urban theory at the Southern California Institute of Architecture. He is co-editor of The Year Left: An American Socialist Yearbook and author of Prisoners of the American Dream He is married with one child.

A native Minnesotan, Robert Morrow finds that the ice-fishing in Southern California leaves something to be desired. He has compensated by taking photographs of rifle ranges, barbed wire, bullet-ridden police cars, derelict factories, big dogs, and other symbols of daily life in Los Angeles's suburban badlands.

 

 

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