Northup, Solomon. Twelve Years a slave (New York: Penguin Books, 2012). (461)



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Davis, Mike. City of Quartz. London: Verso, 1990. 1-435. (435)

Mike Davis, in his work City of Quartz, works to disassemble the logistics of a city which should, in theory, be impossible. The city of Los Angeles, as a national icon, was built upon a desert and as Davis examines came to create an empire of political dysfunction, social discourse, and cultural ambivalence. By dissecting and recreating the history of the city throughout the text an overall theme is reached which examines, like in Davis’ other works, the dichotomy of the utopia and the dystopia. Though recently “globalization of the regional economy has introduced new actors and power centers”, the historical logistics of the city remain strictly intact.261 Davis’ opening chapter perhaps most perfectly sums up the entirety of his piece. “Chapter One: Sunshine or Noir?” boils down the dystopia versus utopia ideology which accompanies the city, and in reality acts as a commentary to the contradictions of the nation as a whole. As Davis explains, Los Angeles acts as a place “where everything is possible, nothing is safe and durable enough to believe in, where constant synchronicity prevails, and the automatic ingenuity of capital ceaselessly throws up new forms of spectacles”.262 By breaking down the inconsistencies which have mad ethe city of Los Angeles a cultural, political and social hub of the American psyche, specifically through the analyzing of its deep and economically captivating history, Davis’ City of Quartz, also acts as a commentary into the reality of other major cities throughout the United States in that their diversity in rhetoric varies but their stigma and impact into the dystopia v. utopia argument remains the same. These major cities examine a constant issue within American culture and ask the public, over and over again, to reattach themselves with the possibility of the beautiful, American, suburban dream.





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