Jim Miller

Quick Links

Find Authors

Works

Flash
Who is Bobby Flash? Flash is a novel that follows the journey of muckracking journalist Jack Wilson as he investigates the century-old mystery of the identity of I.W.W. outlaw and revolutionary, Bobby Flash. When Wilson finds an old Wanted poster in a local archive in San Diego, his curiosity leads him deep into the lost history of America’s radical past through the Free Speech fights and the Magonista revolt in Mexico, the utopian Llano del Rio Colony, and the first red scare. Bobby Flash crosses paths with the likes of Emma Goldman, Elizabeth Gurley Flynn, Ben Reitman, and Big Bill Hayward as well as a myriad of other unknown tramps and revolutionaries. The reader even gets to see if it’s possible for Jack to sneak a portion of Joe Hill’s ashes through Homeland Security. Along the way we learn the story of the women who work in contemporary Tijuana’s maquiladoras and others struggling to make a living at working class jobs in Los Angeles, San Diego and the San Francisco Bay area. Flash is also the story of the love of a father and son and their unexpected discovery of their family legacy, including a grandmother committed to the ideals of revolution and free-love at the turn-of-the-century. This novel begins in contemporary Southern California and takes the reader through the LA punk and underground scenes, San Diego’s lost sailor town, and bohemian San Francisco and inner city Oakland ending finally on the Lost Coast Highway at a fledgling utopian commune. Flash speaks directly to current economic concerns and the yearning for hope and justice. http://www.akpress.org/2010/items/flashanovel

Drift
Exposing the hollowness of San Diego’s boom years, Drift uncovers the hidden past of this southwestern mecca—a history inhabited by the likes of Emma Goldman, Henry Miller, Mission Indians, and Theosophists—and captures the underlying emptiness and unease of San Diego circa 2000. Joe Blake plays the postmodern flâneur in a theme-park city, drifting with the poetic eye of Baudelaire and the critical sensibilities of Walter Benjamin and the Situationist avant-garde. Depicting the sex, drugs, and death found in the borderlands, author Jim Miller portrays a city where cultures sometimes clash but more often pass one another almost wholly unaffected.

Under the Perfect Sun: The San Diego Tourists Never See
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 of militarization, economic inequality, municipal corruption, and racial injustice.

This alternative civic history deconstructs the mythology of “America’s finest city.” 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 voice of paradise’s forgotten working people and new immigrants. The texts are vividly enhanced by archival photographs from the San Diego Historical Society, as well as images from photographer Fred Lonidier.

Better to Reign in Hell: Inside the Raiders Fan Empire
“A rich, multifaceted, and engaging book. As participants and observers, Jim Miller and Kelly Mayhew take us on a tour of Raider Nation in all its contradictory dimensions: from the cynical corporate spectacle of the modern sports industry, to the spontaneous carnival and conviviality among fans on game day, to the multiple reverberations of imagined community and identity on the streets of urban East Oakland, South Central L.A., and beyond. Better to Reign in Hell is a remarkable account that should interest sports fans and anyone concerned with the popular experience of community in America today.”
–Chris Rhomberg, Author of No There There: Race, Class, and Political Community in Oakland

Selected Works

Fiction
Who is Bobby Flash? Flash is a novel that follows the journey of muckracking journalist Jack Wilson as he investigates the century-old mystery of the identity of I.W.W. outlaw and revolutionary, Bobby Flash.
“Ultimately Drift seems a requiem for so many things, a noble past mashed in the dirt, and hope for a future that glimmers despite the dismal possibilities that cloud the horizon.”
--JIMMY SANTIAGO BACA, author of The Importance of a Piece of Paper
Nonfiction–History/Politics
“A... fascinating history of San Diego that debunks the notion of America’s Finest City”
San Diego Magazine
Cultural Studies
Raider Nation, smitten with its outlaw mystique, provides a gritty alternative to California’s sunshine-and-granola image.