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Just amazing because the high expectations that Mike Davis create on us are always fulfilled. A great partner for researchers, helping in the built of the theoric framework, easying your job in the fieldwork.
Hands down one of my favorite books of all time. I started seeing Los Angeles in a completely different way after reading this. Like, I literally started noticing things about the physical environment I had never noticed before. It's a long, deep read, but very worth it.
I have lived 5 years in Los Angeles and I have to say reading this book has completely changed my perception of the city. Coming from another continent, names like Hollywood and Beverly Hills were familiar to me before arrival, but I knew nothing about Pasadena "Old Money" or South Central struggles. And even after years living here, I had some notions of the city history but I was far away from the rich and complex web of relationships unveiled by this book. Reading this book left me craving for more readings, I think I will go over the book again and read some of the books mentioned in the citations
Mike Davis's white hot rant gives the great anti-city precisely the rhetorical slapping around it deserves. Don't be put off by the author's undisguised, unvarnished, old-fashioned Marxist biases--Chairman Mao once observed, "we Marxists disdain to conceal our views," and Davis makes his clear--because he's spot on: this is a city built by scoundrels on a foundation of perfidy and despoliation. Not a novel observation, true; mainstream historians, scores of journalists of every persuasion, and, yes, Roman Polanski also point this out, but Davis's narrative has far splashier colors and a high entertainment quotient. Alas, the book drops one star for what I judge to be its unevenness--the first two chapters are brilliant, the concluding chapter on Fontana is very fine, the remainder simply less so but still worthy. (Another, minor, beef--the excellent photographs, and there are many, are not given very respectful reproduction.) That said, City of Quartz is an indispensible tour of some of the darker corners of LA's famous story and an informative guide for those who have long looked for help in articulating precisely "why I really, really don't like Los Angeles."