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Publisher's Summary

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 West-a 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.

©1990 Verso; Preface 2006 by Mike Davis (P)2018 Tantor

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A People’s History of Los Angeles

City of Quartz has long been held up as the ultimate - and perhaps only - history of Los Angeles. It leaves a lot of obvious stuff (that I still want to read about) on the cutting room floor in favor of a populist history of the city through the lens of then-current events and local politics. I was shocked that for all of the recommendations this book had been given, not one mention of its socialist bent was ever even alluded to. It makes me think no one actually read it. If they had said so, I would’ve read it sooner.
It’s a little dated, doesn’t make the obvious connections it could to conclude the book, but it’s also very thoroughly researched, a solid reading, and gives great new perspective on a city I’ve called home for 15 years.

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