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Set the Night on Fire

L.A. in the Sixties

Mike Davis Jon Wiener

$24.99

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Bloomsbury
02 July 2021
Histories of the US sixties invariably focus on New York City, but Los Angeles was an epicenter of that decade's political and social earthquake. L.A. was a launchpad for Black Power-where Malcolm X and Angela Davis first came to prominence and the Watts uprising shook the nation-and home to the Chicano walkouts and Moratorium, as well as birthplace of 'Asian America' as a political identity, base of the antiwar movement, and of course, centre of California counterculture. 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.
By:   Mike Davis, Jon Wiener
Imprint:   Bloomsbury
Country of Publication:   United Kingdom
Dimensions:   Height: 198mm,  Width: 129mm, 
Weight:   368g
ISBN:   9781839761225
ISBN 10:   1839761229
Pages:   800
Publication Date:   02 July 2021
Audience:   General/trade ,  College/higher education ,  Professional and scholarly ,  ELT Advanced ,  Primary
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Mike Davis is the author of several books including City of Quartz, The Monster at Our Door, Buda's Wagon, and Planet of Slums. He is the recipient of the MacArthur Fellowship and the Lannan Literary Award.Jon Wiener is Host and Producer of Start Making Sense, the Nation's weekly podcast. He is an Emeritus Professor of US history at UC Irvine, and his most recent book is How We Forgot the Cold War: A Historical Journey across America.

Reviews for Set the Night on Fire: L.A. in the Sixties

Authoritative and impressive ... Set the Night on Fire is an essential reference to L.A.'s rich history of civil unrest, with a hopeful undercurrent. Movements can and often do force change. - Los Angeles Times A monumental history of rebellion and resistance. - Los Angeles Review of Books Combining comprehensive, mineshaft-deep research with unique firsthand knowledge, [Davis and Wiener's] recounting of the radical '60s in Los Angeles will likely not be surpassed. - Los Angeles Review of Books Set the Night on Fire: L.A. in the Sixties is a book as vast as the city itself. - CounterPunch Monumental. ... For new generations growing up in a city whose very history is rarely acknowledged to exist, Set the Night on Fire is a vital primer in resistance, a gift to the future from the past. - Guardian These are war stories, the intended audience of which is the young organizers of today, many of them the children and grandchildren of his friends and heroes in the sixties. - New Yorker Anyone familiar with Mike Davis's magisterial social history of Los Angeles, City of Quartz, will know what to expect in terms of the epic sweep and questioning tone of Set the Night on Fire. This time, the focus is firmly on race and rebellion, but he and Wiener also map out the myriad protest movements, countercultural voices and campaigns that made 1960s Los Angeles an altogether more edgy and volatile city than the state's hippy capital, San Francisco. - Guardian Davis and Wiener have crafted a book that is both encyclopedic and prophetic, scholarly and polemical. ... Readers would be hard-pressed to find better guides for a tour of leftist Los Angeles. - America magazine This very readable but meticulously detailed year-by-year account has relevance far beyond its time and place. The sixties were a decade that shaped politics for half a century and the authors show how different struggles were interlinked across the US. - Morning Star An essential rescued history - New York Journal of Books Mike Davis and Jon Wiener tell the story of a decade of explosions. - Jacobin In Set the Night on Fire, Mike Davis and Jon Wiener provide an extensive history of L.A. that includes interviews with key players from these movements and their own personal recollections. - Los Angeles Daily News Highly readable...Davis and Wiener succeed in giving renewed attention to the neglected voices of subjugated minorities central to the reconstruction of society. - LSE Review of Books An astonishing book that proves that people really do have the power to force change for the better. - Buzz Magazine An exhaustive and in-depth presentation of the wide-ranging big and small resistance movements of [the sixties] with a sober and insightful account of their strengths and weaknesses, including the role that the political left played in them. Its publication in 2020 could not be more timely in these days when tens of thousands have been demonstrating in Los Angeles and across the country and world against police brutality and racism. - Jacobin A history of the social and political struggles of the 1960s unlike most others. - The VVA Veteran Monumental ... Set the Night on Fire is, above all, a historical account of how a rainbow of insurgent social movements tried to peel back the glitter, dismantle the police state, and replace elite white rule and its regimes of segregation, militarism, patriarchy, and conformity with a society oriented toward serving the people. - Boston Review Two veteran authors allow themselves vast detail to tell us about the cradle of counterculture, in all the far-flung rebellious meanings of the term. It is also the story of L.A.'s contested racial space, with contradictions ranging from radicalized white youngsters in the suburban sprawl to Chicano Teamsters breaking strikes. - Rain Taxi


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