Ecology of Fear: Los Angeles and the Imagination of Disaster

Front Cover
Vintage Books, 1998 - Nature - 484 pages
45 Reviews
"Graced with a bold political and environmental vision, much splendid phrasemaking and a multitude of facts. . . . A truly eccentric contribution."--The New York Times Book Review  

Earthquakes. Wildfires. Floods. Drought. Tornadoes. Snakes in the sea, mountain lions, and a plague of bees. In this controversial tour de force of scholarship, unsparing vision, and inspired writing, Mike Davis, the author of City of Quartz, revisits Los Angeles as a Book of the Apocalypse theme park. By brilliantly juxtaposing L.A.'s fragile natural ecology with its disastrous environmental and social history, he compellingly shows a city deliberately put in harm's way by land developers, builders, and politicians, even as the incalculable toll of inevitable future catas-trophe continues to accumulate.

Counterpointing L.A.'s central role in America's fantasy life--the city has been destroyed no less than 138 times in novels and films since 1909--with its wanton denial of its own real history, Davis creates a revelatory kaleidoscope of American fact, imagery, and sensibility.  Drawing upon a vast array of sources, Ecology of Fear meticulously captures the nation's violent malaise and desperate social unease at the millennial end of "the American century."  With savagely entertaining wit and compassionate rage, this book conducts a devastating reconnaissance of our all-too-likely urban future.

"Dizzying. . . . In Mr. Davis's account, the world ends in fire, and the next time is now."--The New York Times

From inside the book

What people are saying - Write a review

User ratings

5 stars
4 stars
3 stars
2 stars
1 star

Review: Ecology of Fear: Los Angeles and the Imagination of Disaster

User Review  - David Kirby - Goodreads

Fascinating read for anyone who's ever lived in California. Read full review

Review: Ecology of Fear: Los Angeles and the Imagination of Disaster

User Review  - Greg - Goodreads

Mike Davis writes like he is gossiping with you in the corner of a diner. At the same time, he seems like that kid you grew up with who is always embellishing his stories. Although the gossip is good ... Read full review

All 19 reviews »


How Eden Lost Its Garden
The Case for Letting Malibu Burn
Our Secret Kansas

3 other sections not shown

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

References to this book

All Book Search results »

About the author (1998)

\A former meatcutter and long-distance truck driver, Mike Davis has taught urban theory at the Southern California Institute of Architecture, was a fellow at the Getty Institute, and was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship.  He is the author of Prisoners of the American Dream and City of Quartz.  He was born in Fontana, a suburb of Los Angeles, and now lives in Pasadena.

Bibliographic information