Mike Davis Dead Cities: And Other Tales

ISBN 13: 9781565848443

Dead Cities: And Other Tales

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9781565848443: Dead Cities: And Other Tales
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A riveting exploration of the tensions between nature and the built environment. The storm is here, crushed dams no longer hold, the savage seas come inland with a hop.Jacob van Hoddis As Mike Davis shows, prophecies of urban doom too often come true. Beginning with a trip to New York's Ground Zero, Davis pairs the horror of lower Manhattan's falling skyscrapers with Las Vegas' delirious delight in blowing up its landmark hotels, where environmental terrorism is practiced in the name of urban development. We stop at "German Village," the Utah wasteland where Allied scientists once perfected their plans to destroy Berlin, then move on to Los Angeles, the frontline of a "Second Civil War" that lies waiting to be ignited in cities across the country. The title essay is an autopsy of the metropolis dead on a slab, with reflections on "bomber ecology" and "ghetto geomorphology." The final chapter, with accounts of Montreal and Auckland brought to their knees by ice storms and heat, warns that our urban infrastructures are as little prepared to deal with climate change as with car bombs and hijacked airliners.

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About the Author:

MacArthur fellow Mike Davis is the author of several books, including Dead Cities, City of Quartz, and Ecology of Fear. He lives in San Diego.

From Publishers Weekly:

"Lower Manhattan was soon a furnace of crimson flames, from which there was no escape" is not a lead sentence from the New York Post from last September, but an image from H.G. Wells's 1908 novel, The War in the Air. In this astute, compelling and often shocking tour of U.S. cities over the past decade (many of these pieces date from the early 1990s), Davis (City of Quartz; Ecology of Fear) goes beyond the usual boundaries of urban theory and creates a panorama of images of cities and landscapes in the throes of destruction-one in which September 11 is more norm than exception. Davis argues that "ecocide"-the degradation of the planet via air pollution, water pollution, nuclear waste and other industrial plagues, as well as by war-is integral to urban decay. Davis creates a Bosch-like portrait of America where Cold War waste disrupts genes and has made huge tracts of land into uninhabitable "national sacrifice zones"; Las Vegas is continually demolished and rebuilt; corporate "redevelopment" runs inner-city economies like feudal dynasties; an attempt to build a subway "eats" Los Angeles; and the "bourgeois utopia of a totally calculable and safe environment" is deeply shaken by September 11. Davis finds "an existential Earth shaped by the creative energies of its catastrophes" (like asteroid impacts, to which a chapter is devoted) that only "geomorphology," an emerging science, treats the effects of urban, rural, natural and man made urban disasters as part of the same continuum, might hope to explain. It's a grim reality, but, in the face of torrid summers, calving ice shelves and beaching whales, one that is increasingly difficult to ignore.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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ISBN 10:  1565847652 ISBN 13:  9781565847651
Publisher: New Press, The, 2002
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