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Planet of Slums

The Planet of Slums by Mike Davis is the 2011-12 Text-In-Community Selection for North Carolina A&T State University

From Contemporary Authors Online

From Contemporary Authors Online

Mike Davis is an American author, urban theorist, and historian known for his writings concerning issues relevant to Southern California. He was born in 1946 in Southern California, the son of Midwestern Irish-Welsh parents who hitchhiked to the Golden State during the Great Depression. At a young age, he developed an interest in social justice and was greatly influenced by an angry Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) demonstration in 1963. David Montgomery wrote in the Nation: "A veteran of civil rights, antiwar and trade union activity in the United States, and a member of the editorial collective of New Left Review, Davis has drawn attention to the structures of social power that have historically divided workers, frustrated their collective undertakings, limited their objectives and secured hegemony of capital."

  • Born: 1946 in Fontana, California, United States
  • Nationality: American
  • Occupation: History teacher


  • Prisoners of the American Dream: Politics and Economy in the History of the U.S. Working Class, Verso (London, England), 1986.
  • (Editor, with Manning Marable, Fred Pfeil, and Michael Sprinker) The Year Left 2: Toward a Rainbow Socialism, Verso (London, England), 1987.
  • (Editor, with Michael Sprinker) Reshaping the U.S. Left: Popular Struggles in the 1980s, Verso (New York, NY), 1988.
  • City of Quartz: Excavating the Future in Los Angeles, photographs by Robert Morrow, Verso (New York, NY), 1990, revised edition, 2006.
  • (Editor, with others) Fire in the Hearth: The Radical Politics of Place in America, Verso (New York, NY), 1990.
  • Ecology of Fear: Los Angeles and the Imagination of Disaster, Metropolitan Books (New York, NY), 1998.
  • Magical Urbanism: Latinos Reinvent the U.S. City, Verso (New York, NY), 2000.
  • (Editor, with Hal K. Rothman) The Grit beneath the Glitter: Tales from the Real Las Vegas, University of California (Berkeley, CA), 2001.
  • Late Victorian Holocausts: El Nino Famines and the Making of the Third World, Verso (New York, NY), 2001.
  • Dead Cities: And Other Tales, New Press (New York, NY), 2002.
  • (With Kelly Mayhew and Jim Miller) Under the Perfect Sun: The San Diego Tourists Will Never See, New Press (New York, NY), 2003.
  • Cronache Dall's Impero (essays), introduction by Benedetto Vecchi, Manifestolibri (Rome, Italy), 2004.
  • The Monster at Our Door: The Global Threat of Avian Flu, New Press (New York, NY), 2005.
  • (With Justin Akers Chacon) No One Is Illegal: Fighting Violence and State Repression on the U.S.-Mexico Border, photographs by Julian Cardona, Haymarket Books (Chicago, IL), 2006.
  • Planet of Slums: Urban Involution and the Informal Working Class, Verso (London, England), 2006, Verso (New York, NY), 2007.
  • In Praise of Barbarians: Essays against Empire, Haymarket Books (Chicago, IL), 2007.
  • Buda's Wagon: A Brief History of the Car Bomb, Verso (London, England), 2007.
  • (Editor, with Daniel Bertrand Monk) Evil Paradises: Dreamworlds of Neoliberalism, New Press (New York, NY), 2007.
  • (With Forrest Hylton) Governments of the Poor: Politics and Survival in the Global Slum, Verso (London, England), 2007.


  • Land of the Lost Mammoths, Perceval Press (Los Angeles, CA), 2003.
  • Pirates, Bats, and Dragons, Perceval Press (Los Angeles, CA), 2004.

Writer. Taught urban theory at the Southern California Institute of Architecture and the Getty Institute; Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, NY, instructor; University of California, Irvine, professor of history.

Havens Center, University of Wisconsin, Madison, 1997; MacArthur grant, 1998, for Ecology of Fear; Getty fellowship; Isaac Deutscher Award, London School of Economics, and Best Book in Urban Politics, American Political Science Association, both for City of Quartz: Excavating the Future in Los Angeles; Carey McWilliams Award, for Magical Urbanism: Latinos Reinvent the U.S. City; Erich Shelling award, 2004; Esther McCoy Award, University of South Carolina Architectural Guild.

Born 1946, in Fontana, CA; married fifth wife, Alessandra Moctezuma (a painter); children: four. Education: Attended Reed College, OR, and University of California, Los Angeles. Addresses: Home: San Diego, CA, and Dublin, Ireland. Office: Department of History, University of California, 129 Murray Krieger Hall, Irvine, CA 92697-3275. E-mail:

  • BLDGBLOG, http:// (May 22, 2006), "Interview with Mike Davis: Part I."
  • LA Weekly Online, (December 14, 2007), interview.
  •, http:// (December 14, 2007), Veronique de Turenne, "Is Mike Davis's Los Angeles All in His Head?," interview.
  • San Diego Reader Online, (April 6, 2006), Juris Jurjevics, "Planet of Slums," interview.
  • Seven Oaks, http:// (April 8, 2006), Derrick O'Keefe, review of Planet of Slums.
  • Voices of Resistance from Occupied London, (February 23, 2007), "Resisting, Subverting and Destroying the Apparatus of Surveillance and Control: An Interview with Mike Davis."*

Source Citation:

"Mike Davis." Contemporary Authors Online. Detroit: Gale, 2008. Gale Biography In Context. Web. 31 May 2011.