Buda's Wagon

A Brief History of the Car Bomb

Mike Davis


5.5 x 8.25 inches, 228pp. 2008

ISBN : 9788170463283

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On a September day in 1920, an angry Italian anarchist named Mario Buda exploded a horse-drawn wagon filled with dynamite and iron scrap near New York’s Wall Street, killing 40 people. Since Buda’s prototype the car bomb has evolved into a ‘poor man’s air force’, a generic weapon of mass destruction that now craters cities from Bombay to Oklahoma City.


In this brilliant and disturbing history, Mike Davis traces its worldwide use and development, in the process exposing the role of state intelligence agencies—particularly those of United States, Israel, India, and Pakistan—in globalizing urban terrorist techniques. Davis argues that it is the incessant impact of car bombs, rather than the more apocalyptic threats of nuclear or bio-terrorism, that is changing cities and urban lifestyle, as privileged centres of power increasingly surround themselves with ‘rings of steel’ against a weapon that nevertheless seems impossible to defeat. 

Mac Arthur Fellow Mike Davis lives in San Diego. He is the author of Planet of Slums, Prisoners of the American Dream, City of Quartz, Ecology of Fear, Magical Urbanism, Late Victorian Holocausts, Dead Cities, and The Monster at Our Door: The Global Threat of Avian Flu.


Culture Studies