by Mike Davis and Jon Wiener
A magisterial, riveting movement history of Los Angeles in the Sixties
Los Angeles in the sixties was a hotbed of political and social upheaval. The city was a launchpad for Black Power--where Malcolm X and Angela Davis first came to prominence and the Watts uprising shook the nation. The city was home to the Chicano Blowouts and Chicano Moratorium, as well as being the birthplace of "Asian American" as a political identity. It was a locus of the antiwar movement, gay liberation movement, and women's movement, and, of course, the capital 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 and dozens of interviews with principal figures, as well as the authors' storied personal histories as activists. Following on from Davis's awardwinning L.A. history, City of Quartz, Set the Night on Fire is a historical tour de force, delivered in scintillating and fiercely beautiful prose.
"The familiar, monochromatic picture of Los Angeles in the sixties--all Hollywood pop and Didion ennui--required a million people of African, Asian, and Mexican ancestry to be 'edited out of utopia, ' as Mike Davis and Jon Wiener put it. What those people actually did, alongside antiwar feminists, high school students, and others, is the heart of this book, and it's a big heart. No one could tell these intersecting stories better than Davis and Wiener, and their book gives us back a great city's greatness in its movements, edges, and other centers, so many of them forgotten." --Rebecca Solnit, author of Recollections of My Nonexistence: A Memoir
" Set the Night on Fire fixes on one mission--collate the stories of emancipation struggle in '60s LA--and runs with it, using document research to complete the job. This is the approach Davis has been using in the twenty-first century, and it works." --Sasha Frere-Jones, Bookforum
About the Authors:
Mike Davis is the author of City of Quartz, Late Victorian Holocausts, Buda's Wagon, and Planet of Slums. He is the recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship and the Lannan Literary Award. He lives in San Diego.
Jon Wiener is a longtime Contributing Editor at the Nation and host and producer of Start Making Sense, the magazine's weekly podcast. He is an Emeritus Professor of U.S. history at UC Irvine, and his books include Gimme Some Truth: The John Lennon FBI Files and How We Forgot the Cold War: A Historical Journey across America. He lives in Los Angeles.