Cover image for Magical urbanism : Latinos reinvent the US city
Magical urbanism : Latinos reinvent the US city
Davis, Mike, 1946-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
London ; New York : Verso, [2000]

Physical Description:
xviii, 172 pages : illustrations, maps ; 20 cm
General Note:
"Haymarket book"--Verso of t.p.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
E184.S75 D35 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



Winner of the 2001 Carey McWilliams Award.

This paperback edition of Mike Davis's investigation into the Latinization of America incorporates the extraordinary findings of the 2000 Census as well as new chapters on the militarization of the Border and violence against immigrants.

Author Notes

Mike Davis is the author of several books including Planet of Slums , City of Quartz , Ecology of Fear , Late Victorian Holocausts , and Magical Urbanism . He was recently awarded a MacArthur Fellowship. He lives in Papa'aloa, Hawaii.

Reviews 3

Publisher's Weekly Review

SUNY sociologist Davis (Ecology of Fear, etc.) predicts that the many national origins denoted by the term "Latino" will become less distinct as U.S. Latino identity undergoes its own melting pot process through intermarriages between different Latino nationalities. The "cosmopolitan result is a rich, constantly evolving" Latino culture that may become a "new American counter-culture" or a "new hegemonic global culture." Because U.S. cities boast the most "diverse blendings of Latin American culture in the entire hemisphere," Davis foresees these metropolises reshaping "hemispheric as well as national U.S. identities." Much of this concise and insightful book explores not only cultural syncretism, but the practical aspects of a huge shift in American identity. Even if all immigration stopped short, Latinos would still be destined to become the largest "ethnic" group in the U.S. by mid-century because of their high fertility rate (for women born in Mexico, it is twice that of North American Anglo women) and the younger median age of the U.S. Latino population. Davis examines the "Dickensian underworld of day labor" in New York, the "interpenetration... of national temporalities, settlement forms, ecologies and levels of development" along la frontera (the borderlands), as well as the shifting realities of labor and lifestyles in the Midwest. He portrays all of this as an unfolding epic drama leading toward a "Latino metropolis that will... wear a proud union label," one in which equal opportunity in education and affirmative action policies will become myths of a long-gone 20th century. No matter the ethnicity of the reader, this is a disquieting book, not because of the demographic shifts Davis envisions, but because of the social upheaval that seems inevitable. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Around 1996, Latinos surpassed African Americans as the largest nonwhite group in the United States. What impact does the rise in the Latino population have on American society? Davis (Ecology of Fear: Los Angeles and the Imagination of Disaster, Vintage, 1999) here presents a powerful, left-wing examination of this question. In 15 chapters, the author explores the social, economic, educational, racial, linguistic, legal, and demographic nature of Latino emergence in urban America. These elements point to the existence in the United States an international Latino community that contains aspects of American and Latin American culture. While Latino political and economic power has grownDespecially in California, Florida, Texas, and New YorkDcrime, poor educational and economic opportunities, and racism (as seen in white flight and the "English first" movement) continue to impede development. Davis's political manifesto stands as a powerful statement on modern America and is recommended for all libraries.DStephen L. Hupp, Urbana Univ., OH (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

Davis, a recipient of the MacArthur Genius Award, has written an important contribution to the literature on Los Angeles and other big cities housing Latinos. What many would call an organic intellectual, Davis is refreshing and, unlike the academy-trained historian, not stuck in a paradigmatic quagmire that stamps out obvious conclusions. He asks, and answers, highly provocative questions. As in his capstone work, City of Quartz: Excavating the Future in Los Angeles (1990), he attempts to get to the essence of Los Angeles and other cities. A criticism of that work was that Davis did not give enough space to Latinos, who today comprise one out of every two residents. This work, although not as comprehensive, focuses on Latinos. Unlike many sojourn writers and academics, Davis knows the similarities and differences between the various Latino groups, expertly contrasting Los Angeles to other landscapes and LA Latinos to other Latinos such as Puerto Ricans. This reviewer especially likes Davis's comparison of Tijuana and Las Vegas, and his intellectual meandering in space. Davis also focuses on the struggles of Latinos to extract a measure of justice, narrating their rise in labor. All collections. R. Acuna California State University, Northridge

Table of Contents

Roman de la Campa
Foreword Latinos and the Crossover Aestheticp. xi
1 Spicing the Cityp. 1
2 Buscando Americap. 11
3 La Frontera's Siamese Twinsp. 25
4 The Latino Metropolisp. 39
5 Tropicalizing Cold Urban Spacep. 51
6 The Third Borderp. 59
7 Fabricating the "Brown Peril"p. 67
8 Transnational Suburbsp. 77
9 Falling Downp. 91
10 The Puerto Rican Tragedyp. 103
11 Education Ground Zerop. 111
12 Disabling Spanishp. 119
13 Who Will Feed the Dragon?p. 129
14 Broken Rainbowsp. 137
15 Uprising of the Millionp. 143
Notesp. 151
Indexp. 169