Mike Davis and Jon Wiener provide the first comprehensive movement history of L.A. in the sixties, drawing on extensive archival research, scores of interviews with principal figures of the 1960s movements, and personal histories (both Davis and Wiener are native Los Angelenos). Following on from Davis's award-winning L.A. history, City of Quartz, Set the Night on Fire is a fascinating historical corrective, delivered in scintillating and fiercely elegant prose.
Publisher: Verso Books
Number of pages: 800
Weight: 590 g
Dimensions: 198 x 129 x 44 mm
On City of Quartz: A history as fascinating as it is instructive. -- Peter Ackroyd * The Times *
On City of Quartz: Few books shed as much light on their subjects as this opinionated and original excavation of Los Angeles from the mythical debris of its past and future. * San Francisco Examiner *
This huge and exhilarating work of history aims to restore some depth and accuracy to how we talk about Los Angeles in the 1960s ... Davis and Wiener have created an important book to read in a time where LA needs more than ever to be mobilized. -- John Freeman * Lit Hub, Most Anticipated Books of 2020 *
The familiar, monochromatic picture of Los Angeles in the sixties-all Hollywood pop and Didion ennui-required a million people of African, Asian, and Mexican ancestry to be 'edited out of utopia,' as Mike Davis and Jon Wiener put it. What those people actually did, alongside antiwar feminists, high school students, and others, is the heart of this book, and it's a big heart. No one could tell these intersecting stories better than Davis and Wiener, and their book gives us back a great city's greatness in its movements, edges, and other centers, so many of them forgotten. -- Rebecca Solnit, author of Recollections of My Nonexistence
From the Ash Grove to Aztlan, from the Valley to Vietnam, it's all here. In showing how struggles for free health care, adequate housing, functional schools, racial and sexual liberation, new forms of creativity, and the human right of freedom from brutal police violence came together into a mighty torrent, Wiener and Davis have written a revolutionary history for an age of continuing contradictions. -- Daniel Widener, author of Black Arts West
The great task of Set the Night on Fire is to remedy the erasures of the black, brown, and queer activists who put their bodies on the line. Revolutionary artist-nuns, educator-organizers, and free-jazz radicals are just a few of a vast cast that together paint a stirring portrait of a visionary city ever emerging from the shadows of the old order. Viva Los Angeles Libre! * Ruben Martinez, author of Desert America *
This is not the theme park of mansions, beaches, and glitzed-up noir, but the undercity of outsiders struggling to get out from under the savage police to stake out a place in the sun. A rare and necessary saga of unsung heroes, vicious authorities, and unpunished crimes. -- Todd Gitlin, author of The Sixties
This is history from below, in the very best sense. A magnificent mural of the local sixties, written with verve and passion by two of my favorite locals. * Barbara Ehrenreich, author of Natural Causes *
A richly detailed portrait of a city that seethed with rebellious energy. * Kirkus Reviews *
The great task of L.A,. In the 60s is to remedy the erasures of the black, brown and queer activists who put their bodies on the line. Mike Davis and Jon Wiener remind us that what there is of progressivism in the city today (we can debate how much) has a very deep history of struggle against unforgiving reactionary forces. Revolutionary artist-nuns, educator-organizers and free-jazz visionaries are just a few of a vast cast of characters that together paint a stirring portrait of a visionary Los Angeles ever-emerging from the shadows of the old order. It's high time radical L.A. came out of the closet. This book blows the door wide open. Viva Los Angeles Libre! -- Ruben Martinez, author of Desert America: A Journey Across Our Most Divided Landscape
A sweeping portrait of a city in upheaval in the 1960s. ... Davis and Wiener clearly see their book as a means of heartening today's activists in LA and beyond, just as the activists in the generations after the '60s took the examples of these struggles as inspiration for their own fights. -- Micah Uetricht * The Nation *
Documents a whole world of interconnected, often forgotten rebellions ... like many veteran leftists, Davis and Wiener are good at pointing out forgotten victories as well as dissecting defeats -- Andy Beckett * London Review of Books *
An epic history of protest in Los Angeles. You can read just a single chapter from each and be transported between so many places. -- Samira Ahmed * Observer *
Set the Night on Fire is a truly monumental achievement by Davis and Wiener and it is unlikely it will ever be surpassed as a multifaceted account of LA at this time. * Counterfire *
[Set the Night on Fire] is remarkable for the scope and depth of its histories and the range of sources on which they are based... [It] contains many untold stories that no doubt will inspire young scholars to study further. -- Magally A. Miranda Alcazar * Aztlan: A Journal of Chicano Studies *
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