Named a Macarthur Fellow in 1998, he was also honored for distinguished achievement in nonfiction writing this past fall by the Lannan Literary Foundation. Professor Davis is the author of more than 20 books and more than 100 book chapters and essays in the scholarly and elite popular press. His scholarly interest span urban studies, the built environment, economic history and social movements. Perhaps his best know book, City of Quartz: Excavating the Future in Los Angeles was named a best book in urban politics by the American Political Science Association and won the Isaac Deutscher Award from the London School of Economics and has been translated into eight languages
- Prisoners of the American Dream, Verso London 1986
translated into German and Korean
- City of Quartz: Excavating the Future in Los Angeles, Verso, London 1990; Vintage, New York 1992 (translated into 8 languages) selected by San Francisco Examiner poll as "one of the ten best non-fiction books on the U.S. West published in the 20th century;" nominated for National Book Critics Circle award; Best Book in Urban Politics', American Political Science Association; Issac Deutscher Award, London School of Economics
- The Ecology of Fear: Los Angeles and the Imagination of Disaster, Metropolitan Books, New York 1998; and Vintage, New York 1999.
- Casino Zombies: True Stories From the Neon West, Scharwze Risse, Berlin, 1999. (German Only)
- Magical Urbanism: Latinos Reinvent the U.S. Big City, Verso, New York, 2000. Carey McWilliams Award
- Late Victorian Holocausts: El Nino Famines and the Making of the Third World, Verso, New York 2000.
- The Grit Beneath the Glitter: stories from the real Las Vegas (co-edited with Hal Rothman), U.C. Press Berkeley, 2001
- Dead Cities and other tales, New Press, New York, 2002.
- Under the Perfect Sun: the San Diego Tourists Never See, New Press, New York 2003 (with Jim Miller and Kelly Mayhew)
- Cronache Dall'Impero, introduction by Benedetto Vecchi, Manifestolibri Rome 2004 (book of essays that originally appeared in Il Manifesto, no English translation)
- The Monster at Our Door: the Global Threat of Avian Flu, New Press, New York 2005 A revised paperback edition with two new chapters will be published by Metropolitan Books, Henry Holt, New York (Fall 2006). Translations now in print in German, French, Italian, Spanish, Portugese, and Japanese, as well as Australian edition with separate epilogue. Arabic and Swedish editions are in press.
- Planet of Slums: Urban Involution and the Informal Working Class
Verso, London 2006 Indonesian, German, Portuguese and Italian editions in press.
- No One Is Illegal: Fighting Racism and State Violence on the U.S.-Mexico Border, Haymarket Books, Chicago 2006. (with Justin Akers Chacon)
- Evil Paradises: Dreamworlds of Neo-Liberalism (co-edited with Dan Monk) New Press (in press, 2006)
- Governments of the Poor: Politics and Survival in the Global Slum (with Forrest Hylton) Verso, London, (fall 2007)
- Buda's Wagon: A Brief History of the Car Bomb, Verso, London (spring) 2007 (will appear simultaneously in German and Turkish) in press.
- In Praise of Barbarians: Essays against Empire, Haymarket Books, Chicago (Spring) 2007 (At publisher, except introduction)
Collection of essays from Tom.dispatch.com and European newspapers.
- Islands Mysterious: Where Science Rediscovers Wonder - a Trilogy (all illustrated by William Simpson)
- Land of the Lost Mammoths, Perceval Press, Los Angeles 2003. (also Danish)
- Pirates, Bats, and Dragons, Perceval Press, Los Angeles 2004. (also Danish)
- Spider Vector, Perceval Press, Los Angeles (forthcoming)
- 2006 Esther McCoy Award, USC Architectural Guild
- 2004 Erich Shelling Architekturpreis 2004 ("outstanding contribution towards the architecture-theoretical discourse")
- 1998 MacArthur Fellow
- 1997 Getty Fellow, Getty Institute, Santa Monica
- 1997 Avenali Professor, UC Berkeley
- 1997 Havens Center Fellow, Univ. of Wisconsin ( Madison)
- 1996 Regents Lecturer, UC Irvine
- 1995 Commencement Speaker, Dept. of Geography, U.C. Berkeley
- 1994 Visiting Fellow, Center for Comparative History and Social Theory, UCLA
- 1993 Commencement Speaker, Graduate School of Architecture and Urban Planning, UCLA
- 1978-80 Danforth, Fulbright and Regents (UC) fellowships