Set the Night on Fire: L.A. in the Sixties – Mike Davis and Jon Wiener (2020)

Set the Night on Fire: L.A. in the Sixties is a book by Mike Davis and Jon Wiener about Los Angeles in the 1960s. The authors combine archival research and personal interviews with their own experiences in the civil rights and anti-war movements to tell the social history or, as the authors term it, ‘movement history’ of this transformative decade. The book’s purpose is not to present a comprehensive history of 1960s Los Angeles but to dispel the mythology surrounding this era and replace it with the neglected history of the populist social and cultural movements that shifted power away from an entrenched elite and opened up opportunities for radical egalitarian change. … The book covers a period of more than ten years beginning at the start of the decade with a description of the Los Angeles of the 1950s and ending with the defeat of Sam Yorty, the powerful Los Angeles mayor by African American city councilman Tom Bradley. During the 1950s, Los Angeles became associated with images of laid-back surf culture, the beatniks, and the celebrity lifestyle; images of Hollywood and Venice Beach filled the minds of individuals when the city of Angeles was mentioned. But behind the scenes, the city was rife with corruption, police violence, and poverty, all while being under the tight control of police chief William H. Parker and Mayor Sam Yorty, who used their unchecked power to rule over the city. By the advent of the 1960s, the mythical image Los Angeles had carefully cultivated was beginning to crack, and the void which was created was filled by the counter-culture movements which would eventually define the decade. Set the Night on Fire covers a range of movements—the desegregation struggle, the gay rights movement, and the birth of the Black Power movement. The emergence of alternative media, and the stories of draft resisters, activist nuns and priests, and the high school ‘blowouts’ during 1968 in Chicano East Los Angeles are some of the subjects explored. …”
BOOKFORUM: Los Angeles Is Burning – Sasha Frere-Jones
Guardian: Set the Night on Fire by Mike Davis and Jon Wiener review – the real LA in the 1960s
Verso – The Midnight Hour: The Watts Uprising
LARB – A Quarter of a Million Readers: The LA Free Press (1964–70)
Verso Books

Sunset Strip, 1966

About 1960s: Days of Rage

Bill Davis - 1960s: Days of Rage
This entry was posted in Angela Davis, Black Power, Books, Chicano, Civil Rights Mov., Feminist, Malcolm X, Poverty, Race Riots, Vietnam War and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Set the Night on Fire: L.A. in the Sixties – Mike Davis and Jon Wiener (2020)

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