Metropolis: A History of the City, Humankind's Greatest Invention
In a captivating tour of cities famous and forgotten, acclaimed historian Ben Wilson tells the glorious, millennia-spanning story how urban living sparked humankind's greatest innovations.
During the two hundred millennia of humanity’s existence, nothing has shaped us more profoundly than the city. From their very beginnings, cities created such a flourishing of human endeavor—new professions, new forms of art, worship and trade—that they kick-started civilization.
Guiding us through the centuries, Wilson reveals the innovations nurtured by the inimitable energy of human beings together: 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 Époque Paris.
In the modern age, the skyscrapers of New York City inspired utopian visions of community design, while the trees of twenty-first-century Seattle and Shanghai point to a sustainable future in the age of climate change.
Page-turning, irresistible, and rich with engrossing detail, Metropolis is a brilliant demonstration that the story of human civilization is the story of cities.
"[A] towering achievement… Reading this book is like visiting an exhilarating city for the first time-dazzling, frazzling, sometimes both simultaneously. Metropolis teems with information and observations." — The Wall Street Journal
"Ben Wilson takes us on an exhilarating tour of more than two dozen cities and thousands of years… Metropolis is a bold undertaking that makes for gripping reading." — The New York Times Book Review
"[An] ode to cities and cosmopolitan life... Metropolis has the added virtue of Wilson as an erudite, creative guide to the history of civilization through its great urban areas." — TIME magazine