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An ambitious and utterly powerful, staggering, work of urban history and the history of planning, concerned with how LA has time after time reinvented itself, often to the chagrin of long-time residents. There is, in essence, the author argues no historical Los Angeles but only the present-tense. The author, a professor of history and long-time resident of LA himself, picks up where Mike Davis left off with his seminal City of Quartz, refining the working theory of how Los Angeles began building ...more
Apr 10, 2011 Ian rated it 4 of 5 stars
"So do not get confused by the glitz. Outwardly, scripted places like Victoria Gardens, or Citywalk, or the Grove may look anti-urban; artificial [...] They seem to epitomize neoliberalism, where every public act is privatized [...] But actually this is meta-urbanism: a metropolitanized suburb (a way to grow public money) [...] The message is paradoxical. These scripted illusions are monuments to the independence of cities, but also to private wealth taking over [...] [C]ities must turn in to de ...more
Whatever you think you know about the ‘canon’ of scholarship on Los Angeles urbanism and its fictitious representations, Klein will rattle that understanding. Simultaneously an excavation of decades of evolution of various LA neighbourhoods, a treatise on the nature of memory, some (somewhat trying and problematic) experiments in fiction, and some cracking cinema studies gymnastics, The History of Forgetting is weird, maddening, and utterly singular. I almost wonder how I would have turned out i ...more
LA is one of those cities we all like to think we know, after all we see it in our mass and popular cultural texts, hear it in the news, read it all over - its sheer ubiquity makes it a know. Norman Klein challenges that notion to argue that our knowledge of LA is a kbowledge based on forgetting, that is popular and mass cultural texts make LA an unknown and continually invwented and reconstrcuted before our very eyes. Contrarian and as such quite brilliantly insightful.
It is always dangerous to post an academic book as it is easy for them to go unfinished. That said, so far this book is incredible! I am absolutely loving it and it is speaking to the intersection of a whole lot of stuff I am currently fascinated by. Note: Goodreads has just made me aware there is an updated version. That is not the one I'm reading but now I hope to rectify that situation :(