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am 10. Juli 2017
I've been looking forward to read this one for a long time. And here it is. Complicated stuff, surely not for everyone, but fascinating and compelling. Worth to give it a try.
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am 27. Oktober 1998
Mike Davis excavates the history of the future as lived and dreamed in Los Angeles. Davis is a gifted writer, and a gifted intellect. But, he doen't let his intellect blind him to the social complexities of life in the new urban spaces. While other contemporary intellectuals are busy flattering themselves or those they would identify with, the upwardly mobile, Davis offers a completely other possibility for culture and the intellect; his intellect is not window dressing nor the mark of some ersatz high culture crudely associated with money and class, his gift is work, hard work. You know how much hard work he has put into trying to understand and excavate his beloved, no less beloved for being so ugly, Los Angeles, from the first sentence of the book. And his work is a gift to the rest of us, that we may begin to humanize our cities again. We may, if we realize just what a hell we have created for ourselves and how it could be different. The story of how the postmodern city came to be is not written in stone nor was it ever predetermined; it is idiosyncratic and contingent and vulnerable to change in the future.
The fine crafting of the sentences, the tremendous intellectual dexterity, and the insights into just what it is we are living are the product of hard work. This writer is a laborer, one whose work inspires hope even as he uncovers a truth that many would forever bury: We are at war against the poor and not only do we not care, we don't even notice. Why? Read this book.
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am 24. Januar 1999
Mike Davis writes a well-researched, fascinating, insightful account of the evolution and culture of "post-modern" Los Angeles from the perspective of the political/cultural left. His book is filled with gold nuggets of information and interpretation regarding the inner workings of one of the world's most fascinating metropolitan areas. However, what bothered me about the book was the haughty, sanctimonious tone of much of Davis' prose. Apparently, Davis believes that only people from the neo-Marxist left are motivated by a genuine desire for social justice or environmental quality. Everyone else is portrayed as having a hidden agenda of self-interest, one way or another. The wealthier classes are presented in reductionist fashion as selfish persecutors of the less fortunate, and the underprivileged themselves are one-dimensionally victims of this persecution. This myopic aspect of leftist interpretation is insulting to the actual people of greater Los Angeles, who in reality are motivated by a complex mixture of individual ambition, fear, idealism, and "class interest," and are hardly the shallow stereotypes that Davis portrays them to be. The holier-than-thou tone of Davis' narrative becomes tiresome after a time, and reflects one major reason for the continued unpopularity of leftist thinking in this country.
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am 5. Mai 1999
This may be a book only LA natives can really "get". Judging by some of the other reviews, not getting it seems pretty common. For me, it was a hilarious/horrific view of the city in which I grew up. The message is - LA is the city of the future and this is why that's bad. Don't get me wrong. I don't agree with everything he says, but everything he says provokes thought.
As to the inaccuracy of his facts - I'd love to hear what he's wrong about. The picture he paints certainly reflects the LA I grew up in - the ponzi-like real estate development industry, the general disregard for the region's history, including the marginalization of the region's native "resident aliens", the monumental mismanagement of the city's downtown. You can call it all Marxist crap, but it you grew up in the unpleasant, incongruous, LaLaLand that sprouted as a result of the non-Marxist crap, this book might strike a chord with you.
It is a bit preachy, and the writing is not universally exceptional, but when it hits the mark, it hits the mark.
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am 4. April 2006
Selten ist eine stadtgeschichtliche Abhandlung mit so viel Verve erzählt worden, hat ein Sachbuchautor einen derart wortgewaltigen Enthusiasmus entwickelt. Und das für den per se bereits faszinierenden Tathergang des Untergangs einer der berühmt-berüchtigsten Metropolen. Los Angeles fungiert in 'City of Quartz. Ausgrabungen der Zukunft' als eine Art postmodernes Atlantis, dessen Absinken in korrumpierte Hoffungen sich wie eine präzise Kapitalismuskritik liest. Extrem detailliert und daher sowohl beweiskäftig als auch anschaulich geht Davis mit seinem Sujet um. Wobei er sich entschlossen hat, eine staubtrockene Wissenschaftlichkeit gegen diese begeisternde Wortwucht einzutauschen. Eine Wucht, die den 'Erzähler' Davis aus der Neutralität in die Anteilnahme katapultiert. Ein Mann, der seine Stadt liebt, trotz Allem. Von ihm wie Reisende geführt erleben wir Leser den langen Niedergang eines der urbanen Flagschiffe unserer Zeiten mit, hautnah. Das ist intensiv. Das ist interessant. Und das ist sehr sehr bitter.
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am 23. Oktober 1998
I read in exhilarated confusion Mike's twisted fable. Sure the prose is devoid of the usual rationalism associated with a book devoted to the "serious social sciences," So what! Anyone who has ever tried to create a rational framework in which to study the social phenomena that is LA will soon find themselves amongst a city who social and cultural roots permutate at ever increasing speed. Quite simply, LA cannot be explained rationally. It is in unravelling this chaos through a combination of prose, quasi rationalism and pure conjecture that City of Quartz imposes an order to this city and creates a meaningful perspective from which to view this wonderful city and its peculiar inhabitants.
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am 12. März 1999
I wish I'd paid more attention to the poor reviews here before ordering this, and less to the William Gibson blurb. The research is poor, the writing is dull, sanctimonious and irritating. Unlike some commentators here I didn't mind the tendentious, anticapitalist stance (was quite looking forward to it). What I minded was the accumulation of small and obvious errors in a work of non fiction (suspension of disbelief applies as much in non fiction as fiction) and a prose style like a boiled pudding.
First book I've ever ordered from Amazon that I wished I'd skipped. (And I read the first 50 pages in the bath -- otherwise I'd've sent it back.)
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am 21. Januar 1999
Remember how Ronald Reagan told the story about a welfare queen who bilked the government out of hundreds of thousands of dollars using false identities? It was discovered to be false, yet his supporters still said the message was important.
That's what has been happening with Mike Davis and "City of Quartz". Davis' use of facts in the book have been very spotty, and the book might not hold too much merit. Without facts, what's left?
"City of Quartz" would be great fiction of a sci-fi dystopia, but it is a poor source for a non-fictional account of Los Angeles.
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am 29. November 1999
This book taught me a lot about LA, one of my adopted homes. The author's insights into the history of this noir paradise are compelling. There's are many non sequitors and idealogical stretches in this book- but at least Davis takes a stance, as so few academics really do these days.
This is a great book if you're trying to understand LA. As far as being Cyberpunk-- it's too scholarly for those looking for a quick view of an Orwellian future.
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am 22. Oktober 1999
Cultural Studies at its best. Lucid, well researched, and rigorously argued while spanning a wide range of disciplines and socio-historical trajectories. A must-read for those interested in understanding where we're all going.
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