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.
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On a September day in 1920, an angry Italian anarchist named Mario Budaexploded a horse-drawn wagon filled with dynamite and iron scrap nearNew York’s Wall Street, killing 40 people. Since Buda’s prototype thecar bomb has evolved into a “poor man’s air force,” a generic weapon ofmass destruction that now craters cities from Bombay to Oklahoma City.
In this brilliant and disturbing history, Mike Davis traces itsworldwide use and development, in the process exposing the role ofstate intelligence agencies—particularly those of the United States,Israel, India, and Pakistan—in globalizing urban terrorist techniques.Davis argues that it is the incessant impact of car bombs, rather thanthe more apocalyptic threats of nuclear or bio-terrorism, that ischanging cities and urban lifestyles, as privileged centers of powerincreasingly surround themselves with “rings of steel” against a weaponthat nevertheless seems impossible to defeat.
“Typical of Mike Davis, this extraordinary book is a brilliant antidote to official history, allowing us to understand how the weak have fought back, ingloriously, against the onslaught of the strong.”—John Pilger