Top critical review
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Limited Scope, Misleading Title
on February 18, 2007
Davis' prose certainly lives up to the hype, keeping me turning the pages. Unfortunately, I never quite found what I was looking for. The book has little to say about Latinos reinventing the U.S. big city, and more to say about how Latinos are being systematically victimized by U.S. big cities (all three of 'em). It deals almost exclusively with the Latino experience in Los Angeles and, to a lesser extent, in Chicago and New York. Although cursory mention is made of other cities with large Latino populations (Houston, San Antonio, Denver, Miami), they are given no in depth treatment.
I expected some discussion of how Latinos are influencing urban forms and the built environment in the U.S. The closest Davis comes is in noting that L.A. doesn't have enough public space to meet the needs of the Latino Community.
There were some high points, the chapter on 'Transnational Suburbs' was fascinating. I also enjoyed the chapter on 'Tropicalizing Cold Urban Space', although its 6 pages seemed too brief.
In short, if you're looking for an unabashadly pro-immigration polemic about the social ills associated with Latino immigration in the U.S., you will love this book. If you want to know about how Latinos will reinvent the U.S. big city, you're sure to be disappointed as only ~25% of this book deals directly with that topic.