Metropolis: A History of Humankind's Greatest Invention (Hardback)Ben Wilson (author)
- We can order this from the publisher
A dazzling, globe-spanning history of humankind's greatest invention: the city.
From its earliest incarnations 7,000 years ago to the megalopolises of today, the story of the city is the story of civilisation. Although cities have only ever been inhabited by a tiny minority of humanity, the heat they generate has sparked most of our political, social, commercial, scientific and artistic revolutions. It is these world-changing, epoch-defining moments that are the focus of Ben Wilson's book, as he takes us on a thrilling global tour of the key metropolises of history, from Urk, Athens, Alexandria and Rome, to Baghdad, Lubeck and Venice, to Lisbon, Amsterdam, London, Paris, New York, LA, Shanghai and Lagos.
Managing and re-imagining the city is already one of the most pressing issues of the twenty-first century. With over half the world's population now living in cities, and with the cosmopolitanism of the major world metropolises under attack from revived nationalism and hostility to globalisation, it has never been more important to understand cities and the role they have played in making us who we are.
Rich with individual characters, scenes and snapshots of daily life, Metropolis combines scholarship and storytelling in a terrifically engaging, stylishly written history of the world through an urban lens.
Publisher: Vintage Publishing
Number of pages: 448
Weight: 808 g
Dimensions: 243 x 167 x 45 mm
Compendious and fascinating... Metropolis is crammed with local colour; and what gives the historical schema its real flavour is the deviations it allows... It makes you understand why we opted for cities in the first place, and why, despite the doom and gloom, I doubt we will be quitting them any time soon. -- Tim Smith-Laing * Daily Telegraph *
Wilson [is] an erudite, creative guide to the history of civilization through its great urban areas... He broadens the book's focus beyond the usual Western suspects... An excellent account. -- Eben Shapiro * Time Magazine *
Wilson sets out to match Mumford's sweep in Metropolis, and he brilliantly synthesises the forces that make cities hum. -- John Gapper * Financial Times *
Capacious, entertaining and rich in wondrous detail, this is a work of history that pulls of the startling feat of measuring up to the immensity of its subject matter. -- Tom Holland * Literary Review *
[A] fascinating history of cities. -- James Marriott * The Times *
[An] omnivorous, adventurous and generous history of the city... Studded with fascinating facts handled with dexterity. -- Daniel Lewis * Arts Desk *
Bryson-esque levels of fascination and intrigue... An informative and riveting piece of work. * Ape to Gentleman *
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. -- Robert Sullivan * New York Times Book Review *
[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. -- Howard Schneider * The Wall Street Journal *
You may also be interested in...
“Stories of cities and their people”
It’s a skill to make fact-filled non-fiction readable. Ben Wilson has it in spades: an easy narrative style that’s engaging without being facile. Far from delivering a straight, dry history, he weaves myth, art and... More
“A fascinating insight”
A great book for those who favour urban life and living in the city. I am fascinated by cities the world over and Wilson gives a clear account of who lives in them, the environment and their history. Even when... More
“A brilliant guide to understanding how cities have evolved from 2600BC to the present day and why we increasingly rush to live in them.”
Magnificent! A sweeping history of the Metropolis spanning 2600 BC to the present day. Reading this will undoubtedly make you a more informed person as to why cities matter and why they appeared in the first place.... More
Please sign in to write a review
Would you like to proceed to the App store to download the Waterstones App?
Or, add to basket, pay online, collect in as little as 2 hours, subject to availability.