Metropolis: A History of the City, Humankind’s Greatest Invention

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Metropolis: A History of the City, Humankind's Greatest Invention
Title Metropolis: A History of the City, Humankind's Greatest Invention
Author
Publisher Doubleday
Release DateNovember 10, 2020
Category History
Total Pages 464 pages
ISBN 0385543468
Book Rating 4.6 out of 5 from 16 reviews
Language EN, ES, BE, DA ,DE , NL and FR
Book Review & Summary:

From a brilliant young historian, a colorful journey through 7,000 years and twenty-six world cities that shows how urban living has been the spur and incubator to humankind's greatest innovations. In the two hundred millennia of our existence, nothing has shaped us more profoundly than the city. Historian Ben Wilson, author of bestselling and award-winning books on British history, now tells the grand, glorious story of how city living has allowed human culture to flourish. Beginning with Uruk, the world's first city, dating to 5000 BC and memorably portrayed in the Epic of Gilgamesh, he shows us that cities were never a necessity but that once they existed their density created such a blossoming of human endeavor--producing new professions, forms of art, worship, and trade--that they kick-started nothing less than civilization. Guiding readers through famous cities over 7,000 years, he reveals the innovations driven by each: civics in the agora of Athens, global trade in ninth-century Baghdad, finance in the coffeehouses of London, domestic comforts in the heart of Amsterdam, peacocking in Belle Epoque Paris. In the modern age, he studies the impact of verticality in New York City, the sprawl of L.A., and the eco-reimagining of twenty-first-century Shanghai. Lively, erudite, page turning, and irresistible, Metropolis is a grand tour of human achievement.

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This book deals thematically with an extensive range of building types, from country villas and urban basilicas to bridges and lighthouses. It covers construction techniques, including interior decoration and features; military buildings, including frontier works, Hadrian's Wall, and the Antonine Wall; public buildings, including market buildings, inns, and monumental arches; sacred sites, including Romano-Celtic temples, Mithraea, and rural shrines; and much more. The appendices deal with orthographic projections, inscriptions, recommended sites, and Romano-British history.

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