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Metropolis: A History of the City,…
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Metropolis: A History of the City, Humankind's Greatest Invention (original 2020; edição 2020)

por Ben Wilson (Autor)

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Título:Metropolis: A History of the City, Humankind's Greatest Invention
Autores:Ben Wilson (Autor)
Informação:Doubleday Canada (2020), 464 pages
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Metropolis: A History of the City, Humankind's Greatest Invention por Ben Wilson (2020)

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In “Metropolis: A History of the City,” historian Ben Wilson traces some 5,000 years of the invention, development, expansion and innovation to be found in human cities across the globe, starting with Uruk in Mesopotamia (Iraq), which dates from at least 3000 BCE, and ending with speculations about modern “megacities” (vast areas of land covered in sprawling, contiguous cities - think the NYC-Boston region, or large swaths of modern-day China) and the role of cities in mitigating and adapting to the oncoming climate crisis. In between, Wilson discusses the important role of street food (based in the chapter on Bagdad between the 6th and13th Centuries CE), war (Rome, Lubeck in the Middle Ages, Warsaw in WWII), sociability (London in the 15th to 19th Century, Paris off and on, Amsterdam in the 1500s) and the horrors of the Industrial Age (Manchester and Chicago), among many other topics and times. Lest one think this is fairly Euro-American-centric, he includes numerous chapters about cities ranging from Tenochtitlan (Middle Ages, site of what is now Mexico City) to Lagos, Nigeria (the megacity of the future), among many others. Engagingly written, and including a fair number of illustrations in two sections, the tale of how cities have shaped humanity over the millenia is spelled out with both meticulous detail and broad scope, depending on what he wants to highlight in a given moment, and his sources range from the earliest written documents (including “The Epic of Gilgamesh,” which chronicles the real Uruk) to recent hip-hop videos (Childish Gambino’s “This Is America”). Indeed, my only quibble with the book is that the extensive notes section listed at the end of the volume is entirely taken up with citing sources; no fun little asides or comments on controversial interpretations here. But then again, those things can be found in the main text throughout, so recommended! ( )
  thefirstalicat | Jan 12, 2021 |
A sweeping, magisterial travelogue through history to explore the development and nature of cities.

The author features specific cities in specific eras, beginning with Uruk around 4000 BCE and ending in Lagos in the modern day to exemplify the trends of cities in different times and places.

He describes the reasoning for coming together to form cities; the stigma of cities and sinfulness; the development of cosmopolitanism in the Mediterranean; the height of Rome; the center of science and food in Baghdad; how major cities developed in Europe on account of war, using Lubeck as the example; cities at the end of medievalism, comparing and contrasting Lisbon, Malacca, Tenochtitlan, and Amsterdam; the early modern city as in London; industrial cities like Manchester and Chicago; the tear down and rebuild of Paris; the skyscraper mania and its meaning in New York; the resilience of cities despite attempts at destruction with Warsaw; the expansion of urbanity to the suburbs with Los Angeles; and he looks at the megacities of the world in terms of modern Lagos.

He covers much ground and makes a robust defense for the city as a great innovation of humanity against its detractors. A great read.

**--galley received as part of early review program ( )
  deusvitae | Oct 28, 2020 |
From its origins over 7000 years ago to the present day and into the future this book looks at the rise of the city and the spread of urbanisation. It doesn't take a completely euro-centric viewpoint which is refreshing and although each chapter is focused on a particular city in a particular era, the exploration veers across the millenia. This is a really fascinating book which draws together lots of strands of global history. ( )
  pluckedhighbrow | Oct 8, 2020 |
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