And Other Tales

Mike Davis

Foreword by Rebecca Solnit

Haymarket Books (October 1, 2024)

Trade paper • ISBN-13: 9798888902578 • US $24.95 • 5.5 in x 8.5 in • 280 pgs.


Dead Cities, published more than twenty years ago and now finally back in print, is a blistering and characteristically prescient analysis of what happens to the urban environment when profit is left to rule unrestrained.

The third book in a trilogy that began with City of Quartz, Dead Cities‘wide-ranging, incisive, and hauntingly relevant essays ask us to consider what we would find if we put a microscope to the ruins of Metropolis, and provide a riveting account of urban disasters—natural, man-made, and those (as in the case of climate calamity) where the distinction is impossible to make. Using environmental science as his frame of understanding, Davis begins his examination by sifting through the rubble of the Twin Towers in the wake of 9/11, identifying the seeds of war already germinating in the scorched soil of Ground Zero, and closes by considering how underprepared our hollowed out urban infrastructure is to deal with shocks of any kind, be they from car bombs or ice storms. Along the way, we are treated to tours of blasted wastelands where American generals built and destroyed replicas of Berlin, glimpses of Las Vegas’s penchant for annihilating its best-known landmarks, and other riveting tales of the dialectic between nature and the city.

Dead Cities abounds with visions of the future, contains echoes of our current moment where conspiracies abound and anxieties drown out official celebrations of prosperity, and offers dreams of alternative paths not taken. Davis’s unifying theme—and challenge to conventional theory—is the radical contingency of the metropolis.


“A crash course in what makes Davis so good.”

San Francisco Chronicle

“Davis culls nuggets of avarice and depredation the way miners chisel coal.”

The Nation

“Rangy, astute, switchblade-wicked essays.”

Kirkus Reviews

“Smart and tough: an author with one eye out for the underdog.”

Library Journal


Mike Davis (1946-2022) was a writer, political activist, urban theorist, and historian. He is best known for his investigations of power and class in works such as City of Quartz, Late Victorian Holocausts, and Planet of Slums. His last two non-fiction books are Set the Night on Fire: L.A. in the Sixties, co-authored by Jon Wiener, and The Monster Enters: COVID-19, Avian Flu, and the Plagues of Capitalism. He was a Getty Scholar (1996-97), and was awarded the World History Association Book Prize, and the Deutscher Memorial Prize. He was recipient of the MacArthur Fellowship and the Lannan Literary Award


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