Mike Davis, the author of dozens of books, teacher, consummate learner, and winner of the McArthur Genius award, has passed away. I am sure there will be numerous tributes and essays in the coming days. Tariq Ali penned this tribute.
"Verso is extremely sad to announce the death of our friend and comrade Mike Davis. He had been ill for many years, but that never really softens the shock of actual death. A feeling of loss. This was especially true in Mike's case. He never stopped writing essays and notes. Close to the end he took his own editorial duties very seriously, exchanging emails with NLR [New Left Review] commenting on recently submitted articles.
Many of Mike's essays and most of his books were published in the New Left Review and by New Left Books/Verso from the early Eighties onwards. His style varied. He could be didactic, lyrical, funny, truculent, ferocious when he needed to be, but his principal target was usually the same: the economic, political, and military apparatuses of the US state machine and the brutalities of empires in general. (Late Victorian Holocausts was a devastating critique of the British in India).
He was an American working-class intellectual, radicalized in the Sixties by the US Communist Party and later moving leftwards, without ever denigrating the women and men in the CP who had educated him. His life was lived on the Left and he both learnt from others and educated many more. His classes at UC Irvine and other institutions were popular with students. How to convey wisdom without being patronizing or incomprehensible; how to remind the young of the fine fruits of past experiences without making them feel ignorant. These were always his concerns."
Some of Davis's titles include: City of Quartz, Ecologies of Fear, Prisoners of the American Dream, Magical Urbanism, Buddha's Wagon, and most recently, with John Weiner, Set the Night on Fire: L.A. in the Sixties.
Check out what might have been the last interview with Davis, here, with Sam Dean from the Los Angeles Times, "Mike Davis is still a damn good storyteller."