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Citiesby John Reader
Synopses & Reviews
In this “captivating treatise” (Publishers Weekly), the acclaimed historian John Reader takes us on a journey of the city: from its earliest example in the Ancient Near East to today’s teeming centers of compressed existence, such as Mumbai and Tokyo.
Cities are home to half the planet’s population and consume nearly three-quarters of its natural resources. For Reader, they are our most natural artifacts, the civic spirit of our collective ingenuity. He gives us the ecological and functional context of how cities evolved throughout human history; the connection between pottery making and childbirth in ancient Anatolia, plumbing and politics in ancient Rome, and revolution and street planning in nineteenth-century Paris.
This illuminating study helps us to understand how urban centers thrive, decline, and rise again, and prepares us for the role cities will play in the future
Book News Annotation:
What distinguishes this book from others on cities, according to Reader (anthropology, U. College London, UK), is that it attempts to identify the common ecological and functional contexts that define urbanity from its earliest manifestations to the present time. Looking at cities through this ecological lens, he discusses how they grow, how they are sustained, and the nature of their relationship with immediate and distant surroundings. The treatment is broadly chronological in nature, but frequently veers off into discussion of individual cities in order to illustrate thematic points. Annotation ©2007 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
A magisterial study of the city from its beginnings to the mega-conurbations of today.
Cities is a fascinating exploration of the nature of the city and city life, of its structures, development and inhabitants.
From the ruins of the earliest cities to the present, John Reader explores how cities coalesce, develop and thrive, how they can decline and die, how they remake themselves. He investigates their parasitic relationship with the countryside around them, the webs of trade and immigration they rely upon to survive, how they feed and water themselves and dispose of their wastes. The book is a sweeping exploration of what the city is and has been, fit to stand alongside Lewis Mumford's 1962 classic The City in History.
A magisterial exploration of the nature of the city from its beginnings to contemporary Cairo, the largest city the world has known.
In his new book, an exploration of the city's functions and forms, John Reader grounds his work in broad-based research into the city's achievements and problems and makes extraordinary and thought-provoking connections as to the nature of cities, old and new.
From the ruins of the earliest cities to the present, Reader explores how they develop and thrive, how they can remake themselves, and how they can decline and die. He investigates their parasitic relationship with the countryside around them, the webs of trade and immigration they inhabit, how they feed and water themselves and dispose of their wastes. He focuses as much on Baron Haussman's creation of the Paris sewers as of his plans for the grand boulevards, on prostitution as on government, on human lives as on architecture, on markets as on cathedrals.
In this sweeping exploration of what the city is and has been, The Anatomy of the City is fit to stand alongside Lewis Mumford's 1962 classic The City in History.
"From the Hardcover edition.
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History and Social Science » Sociology » Urban History pre 1950