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Radicalism in U.S. History

Mike Davis not shy about his political allegiance — he calls himself “an old-school socialist.” Known to many for his best-selling histories of Los Angeles and Southern California, CITY OF QUARTZ and ECOLOGY OF FEAR, Davis is a former meat cutter and long haul truck driver who now teaches creative writing at the University of California, Riverside. With the media buzzing over socialism within the Beltway, Bill Moyers talked with Davis about the government’s response to the economic crisis and the role of radicalism in American history.

Named a MacArthur Fellow in 1998, he was also honored for distinguished achievement in nonfiction writing this past fall by the Lannan Literary Foundation. Professor Davis is the author of more than 20 books and more than 100 book chapters and essays in the scholarly and elite popular press. His scholarly interest span urban studies, the built environment, economic history and social movements. Perhaps his best know book, CITY OF QUARTZ: EXCAVATING THE FUTURE IN LOS ANGELES (1990) was named a best book in urban politics by the American Political Science Association and won the Isaac Deutscher Award from the London School of Economics and has been translated into eight languages.

Other books include: THE MONSTER AT OUR DOOR: THE GLOBAL THREAT OF AVIAN FLU (2005); UNDER THE PERFECT SUN: THE SAN DIEGO TOURISTS NEVER SEE, with Jim Miller and Kelly Mayhew (2003); DEAD CITIES AND OTHER TALES (2002); THE GRIT BENEATH THE GLITTER: STORIES FROM THE REAL LAS VEGAS (2001); LATE VICTORIAN HOLOCAUSTS: EL NINO FAMINES AND THE MAKING OF THE THIRD WORLD (2000); MAGICAL URBANISM: LATINOS REINVENT THE U.S. BIG CITY (2000); THE ECOLOGY OF FEAR: LOS ANGELES AND THE IMAGINATION OF DISASTER (1998); and PRISONERS OF THE AMERICAN DREAM (1986).

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