Cities By John Reader
Being currently housebound because of an ear operation I was able to get through this book quicker than usual. Anyway John Reader takes us on a historical trip through the city starting in Mesopotamia 6,000 years ago and finishing at the present day taking a quick view at the usual suspects, London, Rome, Venice, New York and a few others. I agree with the author that this book is needed as the city is ‘the defining artifact of civilisation‘, and by 2030 two thirds of us will be living in one. So the concept of the book is clear, better understand the city, how it works and how they differ and you will better understand civilisations and the forces at work in cities that even shape the outcome of wars and empires themselves. In answering the problems of the city we may be able to solve some of the environmental issues that face humanity now. Its optimistic and upbeat and demonstrates a love for the city and is full of interesting facts. Its pulled together very well too, and is eminently readable which is no small advantage. While perhaps the conclusion could draw from the whole book more clearly it is an excellent book and should be on every ones ‘city reader’ list.
WIth modern books now there are many references that are to the web, they aren’t so much use in the back of a books as in html so I put a couple up;