Fantasies of public order played a crucial, often-underappreciated role in shaping cities during the early twentieth century. Much has been written about the imagination of urban crime and the policing of Europe and North America, but we are only beginning to learn about how these concerns played out in the Latin American context. Lila Caimari is among the scholars who have contributed most to our knowledge of this subject. While the City Sleeps (first published in Spanish as Mientras la ciudad duerme) is a welcome addition to a growing body of literature, and its significance extends beyond Buenos Aires or even Latin America.

The book is a collection of essays that provide a cultural history of Buenos Aires during the 1920s and 1930s. Key themes include the twin spectacles of crime and policing, the impact of new technologies (especially automobiles, firearms,...

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