The journalist, historian, urban geographer, and cultural theorist just passed away at the age of seventy-six and it’s difficult to not feel the full weight of his passing.

by Amitabh Pal, Norman Stockwell, and Dave Zirin, The Progressive Magazine

Sports journalist and regular columnist for The Progressive Dave Zirin penned these words last night on hearing of Davis’s death. He went on to share these thoughts about the powerful and prescient author:

“I first read Mike Davis’s City of Quartz when I was nineteen. I still have that copy on the bookshelf, looking dog-eared after having been lent out at least a half dozen times. It still has my sister’s faded, slightly smudged inscription, wishing me a happy birthday and saying firmly that I ‘HAVE to read this book.’ I remember taking her words as a dare and cracked it open, unaware of what it would do to me by the time I hit the last page.

Headshot of Mike Davis in black and white

“We all know about the books you cannot put down. But what about the books you have to put down? You have to put them down because their words ring too true. Or you have to put it down because you know that to read any more would mean that you actually might have to do something about the brutal state of the world. So you consume these books in fits and starts, pacing the room in between reading jags. That was me with City of Quartz. I understand my political life as existing somewhat neatly between when I first picked that incredible book up and when—a couple sleepless nights later—I put it down.

“I mourn losing Mike. But I am heartened by the thought of future generations picking up any of his brilliant books and finding something that they have to put down.

“Mike Davis: my writing hero of all heroes. Mike Davis: ¡Presente!”

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