Books for changing the world

Mike Davis

Mike Davis, professor emeritus of creative writing at UC Riverside, joined the San Diego chapter of the Congress of Racial Equality in 1962 at age 16 and the struggle for racial and social equality has remained the lodestar of his life. His City of Quartz: Excavating the Future in Los Angeles (1990) challenged reigning celebrations of the city from the perspectives of its lost radical past and insurrectionary future. His wide-ranging work has married science, archival research, personal experience, and creative writing with razor-sharp critiques of empires and ruling classes. Davis’s many other seminal books include In Praise of BarbariansI, Late Victorian HolocaustsPrisoners of the American Dream, and Planet of Slums. He is the recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship, as well as a 2007 Lannan Literary Award for Nonfiction and 2020 Cultural Freedom Prize from Lannan Foundation. He lives in San Diego.