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In Praise of Barbarians
Essays against Empire
A bold collection of essays and polemics from the world-renowned social critic Mike Davis.

The author of City of Quartz and Planet of Slums attacks the current fashion for empires and white men’s burdens in this blistering collection of radical essays. He skewers contemporary idols such as Mel Gibson, Niall Ferguson, and Howard Dean; unlocks some secret doors in the Pentagon and the California prison system; visits Star Wars in the Arctic and vigilantes on the border; predicts ethnic cleansing in New Orleans more than a year before Katrina; recalls the anarchist avengers of the 1890s and “teeny-bopper” riots on the Sunset Strip in the 1960s; discusses the moral bankruptcy of the Democrats in Kansas and West Virginia; remembers “Private Ivan,” who defeated fascism; and looks at the future of capitalism from the top of Hubbert’s Peak.

No writer in the United States today brings together analysis and history as comprehensively and elegantly as Mike Davis. In these contemporary, interventionist essays, Davis goes beyond critique to offer real solutions and concrete possibilities for change.



"Davis remains our penman of lost souls and lost scenarios: He culls nuggets of avarice and depredation the way miners chisel coal."
--The Nation

“A rare combination of an author, Rachel Carson and Upton Sinclair all in one.”
--Susan Faludi, author, Backlash

"Davis' work is the cruel and perpetual folly of the ruling elites."
--New York Times

Mike Davis is the author many books, including City of Quartz, The Ecology of Fear, The Monster at Our Door, and Planet of Slums. Davis teaches in the Department of History at the University of California, Irvine, and lives in San Diego.


Other books by Mike Davis

  • Be Realistic

    Mike Davis delivers a brilliant defense of the Occupy movement and offers pragmatic advice to the 99%.
  • Nadie es ilegal

    No One Is Illegal debunks the leading ideas behind the often-violent rightwing backlash against immigrants.
  • No One Is Illegal

    No One Is Illegal debunks the leading ideas behind the often-violent right-wing backlash against immigrants.