City of Quartz

City of Quartz

Excavating the Future in Los Angeles

Book - 2006
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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.
Publisher: London ; New York : Verso, 2006
Edition: New ed
ISBN: 9781844675685
Characteristics: xviii, 462 p. : ill., map ; 21 cm


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Jul 25, 2017

An interesting time capsule of an objective (and perhaps naive) view of Los Angeles just before the 1992 LA riots. A thorough analysis of the socio-economic conditions that juxtaposed the wealthy and desperately poor who lived and worked literally blocks from each other. Sort of prescient as a precursor of today's widely acknowledged nationwide wealth inequality.

After a while however, the book starts to become a recitation of dry facts, reaching a nadir when discussing school boards and homeowners associations for dozens of pages. But then it all perks up for the last chapter on Fontana, CA and the colossal Kaiser Ironworks which almost doomed the town with its toxic exhaust and the waste left after it was closed. Closes the book nicely concluding its theme of California as a false paradise. Note: check out this link for a view of the Fontana plant ruins in a surreal music video.


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