Mike Davis Tried to Warn Us About a Virus-Induced Apocalypse

Mike Davis has good claim to being the most important Marxist historian of the past fifty years. While his work may not have the vast geographical or temporal scope of Perry Anderson, Ellen Meiksins Wood, or Robert Brenner, nor has it mined a particular period or subject with the focus of a figure like E. P. Thompson, Robin Blackburn, or Christopher Hill, its influence and its singular depth makes Davis’s work stand out.On the surface, his writings may appear disparate, ranging from the early essays on the history of the US working class to his more recent studies of Third World slums, the history of the car bomb, and the radical history of Los Angeles in the 1960s, to name just three examples. Yet the diversity of Davis’s interests are linked by his near singular focus on global class relations and his writing is marked by a startling prescience. His oeuvre has opened entire continents of research, each one written in his typically sparkling, lucid prose.

Of his many books, none has been so darkly prescient as The Monster at Our Door, first published fifteen years ago, and now, amid the first wave of COVID-19, reissued by OR Books as The Monster Enters: COVID-19, Avian Flu, and the Plagues of Capitalism.

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