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The History of Forgetting: Los Angeles and the Erasure of Memory (Haymarket)
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The History of Forgetting: Los Angeles and the Erasure of Memory (Haymarket)

3.62 of 5 stars 3.62  ·  rating details  ·  82 ratings  ·  11 reviews
Book by Klein, Norman M.
Paperback, 330 pages
Published June 17th 1997 by Verso (first published April 1st 1997)
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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
"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
Greg J.
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
Patricia L.
This book is like no other I have read. Even if you don't remember that you are interested in LA, it is brilliant way to write about a place.
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.
Mar 14, 2012 Rebecca is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
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 :(
delightful account of the history (or erasure of) of LA. loved the chapter about LA in the cinematic imagination (like Blade runner etc). for urbanists or anything interesting in cities of the future.
Maxwell Harwitt
"Why do research when I can just write a whole book of history and earn a teaching position from conjectures based on the little I currently know about the subject?"
I read this for a class, so it was inevitably tedious at times. It didn't help that there were typos...
wonderful book. a must read for anyone who is interested in los angeles history and cultural theory.
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