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Mike Davis (1) (1946–2022)

Author of City of Quartz: Excavating the Future in Los Angeles

For other authors named Mike Davis, see the disambiguation page.

32+ Works 5,995 Members 65 Reviews 13 Favorited

About the Author

Mike Davis is the author of many books, including City of Quartz, The Monster at Our Door, Buda's Wagon, and Planet of Slums. He is the recipient of the MacArthur Fellowship and the Lannan Literary Award. He lives in San Diego.

Works by Mike Davis

Planet of Slums (2006) 895 copies
Late Victorian Holocausts (2001) — Author — 685 copies
Dead Cities: And Other Tales (2002) 242 copies
Evil Paradises: Dreamworlds of Neoliberalism (2007) — Editor; Contributor — 129 copies

Associated Works


19th century (22) American history (39) architecture (73) California (124) capitalism (33) cities (109) colonialism (34) cultural studies (40) culture (25) ebook (27) ecology (60) economics (66) environment (43) essays (36) geography (68) globalization (32) gone (27) history (376) immigration (35) imperialism (52) India (33) Los Angeles (289) Marxism (30) non-fiction (319) political economy (24) politics (164) poverty (37) race (24) read (49) slums (22) sociology (129) terrorism (26) to-read (295) unread (31) urban (66) urban history (31) urban planning (49) urban studies (125) urbanism (80) USA (56)

Common Knowledge



Well, that's a thorough book. Could have been slightly shortened for my taste. But at least it's thorough. Only weird thing: after over 400 pages, it just ends. No conlusion, no outlook. After such an in-depth analysis, this end came unexpected. But Davis' style is incredibly readable, given the topic's complexity.
sunforsiberia | 6 other reviews | Dec 28, 2023 |
took me ~4 months on and off but i finally finished it!!!!! i liked this book a lot but it was Very long and at times unfocused, so i found myself taking regular breaks. i was particularly unimpressed with the chapter on women's lib, tacked on towards the end, that mostly covered the early 70s - it's like... okay to acknowledge that women's lib wasn't a major issue in LA in the 60s and leave it there... i would prefer that to feeling like an afterthought! but that said all the content was interesting, and in particular the two chapters which recounted events for which mike davis was present were absolutely riveting reading. if you have the time and patience, much of this is essential reading for understanding the social climate that shaped not only LA but america in the latter half of the 20th century.… (more)
i. | 1 other review | Jul 13, 2023 |
Mike Davis charts the expected global urbanization explosion over the next 30 years and points out that outside China most of the rest of the world's urban growth will be without industrialization or development, rather a 'peverse' urban boom in spite of stagnant or negative urban economic growth.
Alhickey1 | 21 other reviews | Dec 11, 2022 |
Thoroughly researched...

"This multi-dimensional approach [of the UN in what qualifies as a slum] is in practice a very conservative gauge of what qualifies as a slum... UN researchers estimate that there were at least 921 million slum dwellers in 2001 and more than 1 billion in 2005." p.23

The filmmaker Prahlad Kakkar, the auteur of the toilet documentary "Bunbay," told a startled interviewer that in Bombay "half the population doesn't have a toilet to s*** in, so they shit outside. That's 5 million people. If they s*** half a kilo each, that's two and a half million kilos of s*** each morning." p.140

Meanwhile in China, where Urban shantytowns reappeared after the market reforms, many in-migrants live without sanitation or running water. "There are reports of people," writes Dorothy Solinger, "squeezed into shacks in Beijing, where one toilet served more than 6,000 people; of a shantytown in Shenzhen housing 50 shelters, in which hundreds subsisted without running water; and a 1995 survey in Shanghai revealed that a mere 11% of nearly 4,500 migrant households actually possessed a toilet." p.140

Just a couple of quotes from this terrifying book, that was published in 2006, to share in my review. I was going to quote another one about Kinshasa, but it's just too lengthy. ...From the beginning of time, men force or coerce women into having sex with them, and nine months later, ready or not, a baby comes. In Asia and Africa, the birthplace of Homo (not so) sapiens, this has multiplied faster than we have noticed, here, in our stolen country. The result in the 21st century, where the globe is ruled by crony capitalism, is a "planet of slums." No place is any longer planned for the poor of the world, who must squat wherever they can, as close as possible to a place where they can grub their scanty living. The rich obviously hope that by "dividing and conquering," i.e. letting the poor fight it out with each other for the crumbs, that they will kill each other off. To a great extent, this will happen, but the upper classes simply can't wall themselves off completely from the problem--there will be overspill. Since this book was published 13 years ago, the problem is horrifyingly so much worse today.

What can be done? Because the governments of the world, first through third, will do nothing about the problem of overpopulation and poverty, it becomes up to the individuals, who are critical thinkers, to do something about this. The only thing I can see to do, is simply do not reproduce. For the children that are already here, educate them about the world that surrounds them, so that they can be at least prepared psychologically for what they will be required to face in their lifetimes. Any child that is born into this world today, is born into an out-of-control ecology, where climate change can reach a tipping point at any moment, where no longer are jobs available for the vast population reproducing more everyday, where fresh water, air, and sufficient food simply cannot be guaranteed for the masses, where seemingly nobody is in charge. To have a child today, is to condemn them to a life that would be no life.
… (more)
burritapal | 21 other reviews | Oct 23, 2022 |



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Howard Zinn Foreword
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Julián Cardona Photographer
Judit Bodnár Contributor
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