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Books for changing the world
Dead Cities
And Other Tales

For the late great Mike Davis, the ravaging of the climate by capital—and his prescient analysis of its consequences for those of us left to deal with the resulting crises—was always a central part of his urban geography.

In these wide ranging, incisive, and hauntingly relevant essays, Davis asks us to consider what we would find if we put a microscope to the ruins of Metropolis, and provides a riveting account of the disasters—natural, man-made, and those (as in the case of climate calamity) where the distinction is impossible to make—that he finds on the other end. He begins his examination by sifting through the rubble of the twin towers in the wake of 9/11, presciently identifying the seeds of war already germinating in the scorched soil of ground zero, and closes by considering how little prepared our hollowed out urban infrastructure is to deal with shocks of any kind, be they from car bombs or ice storms. In between we are treated to tours of blasted wastelands where American generals built and destroyed replicas of Berlin, glimpses of Las Vegas’s penchant for annihilating its own best-known landmarks, and other riveting tales of the dialectic between nature and the city.

Dead Cities, written over twenty years ago, abounds with prophecies fulfilled, contains echoes of our current moment where conspiracies abound and anxieties drown out official celebrations of prosperity, and offers dreams of alternative paths not taken.

  • “A crash course in what makes Davis so good.” San Francisco Chronicle

    “Davis culls nuggets of avarice and depredation the way miners chisel coal.” —The Nation

    “Rangy, astute, switchblade-wicked essays.” Kirkus Reviews

    “Smart and tough: an author with one eye out for the underdog.” Library Journal

Other books by Mike Davis