Under The Perfect Sun by Mike Davis
The San Diego Tourists Never See

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A history of class and power in San Diego, an anti-tourist guide that debunks the sunshine myth for locals and visitors alike.

Let's just say there was good liaison between city government and business.—Ex-mayor of San Diego, Frank Curran, on the 1960s

For fourteen million tourists each year, San Diego is the fun place in the sun that never breaks your heart. But America's eighth largest city has a dark side. Behind Sea World, the Zoo, the Gaslamp District, and the beaches of La Jolla hides a militarized metropolis, boasting the West Coast's most stratified economy and a tumultuous history of municipal corruption, virulent anti-unionism, political repression, and racial injustice. Though its boosters tirelessly propagate an image of a carefree beach town, the real San Diego shares dreams and nightmares with its violent twin, Tijuana.

This alternative civic history deconstructs the mythology of "America's finest city," exposing its true undergirdings of militarism, racism and economic inequality. Acclaimed urban theorist Mike Davis documents the secret history of the domineering elites who have turned a weak city government into a powerful machine for private wealth. Jim Miller tells the story from the other side: chronicling the history of protest in San Diego from the Wobblies to today's "Globalphobics." Kelly Mayhew, meanwhile, presents the voices of paradise's forgotten working people and new immigrants. The texts are vividly enhanced by Fred Londonier's photographs.


About Mike Davis

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Mike Davis is the author of "City of Quartz, Magical Urbanism," and, most recently, "Dead Cities," and co-author of "Under the Perfect Sun: The San Diego Tourists Never See," A MacArthur Fellow, he lives in San Diego. Kelly Mayhew is a professor of English, philosophy, and humanities at San Diego City College. They are co-authors, with Mike Davis, of Under the Perfect Sun (The New Press). Both live in San Diego.
Published January 1, 2003 by The New Press. 304 pages
Genres: History, Political & Social Sciences, Education & Reference. Non-fiction

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San Diego is the latest Sunbelt metropolis to come under the scrutiny of historian Davis (City of Quartz) in this damning trio of essays on "America's Finest City."

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