This remarkable history of urban culture worldwide, from the first city builders 7000 years ago, to today's sprawling megacities, using the form of a popular guidebook to get to the heart of what makes cities thrive.
P. D. Smith is an independent researcher and writer. He has taught at University College London where he is an Honorary Research Fellow in the Science and Technology Studies Department and has contributed to the Guardian and writes for other national publications including The Times, Independent and the Times Literary Supplement and regularly contributes to the acclaimed website 3 Quarks Daily. His books include Doomsday Men: The Real Dr Strangelove and the Dream of the Superweapon. Author's website: www.peterdsmith.com
A rich kaleidoscope celebrating urban life in all its aspects ... consistently well written and researched - and impressively eclectic ... The vibrancy of the world's greatest conurbations leaps out from his pages ... Smith's book is at once a hugely enjoyable read and an inspiring vision to aim for * Spectator * Smith packs the blood, guts, underbelly and driving forces of the archetypal city into chapters as densely packed as the streetscapes of Manhattan or Hong Kong ... The sorcery of cities should not be lost; Smith's ebullient guidebook helps to remind us why * Guardian * It's a wonderful book: BLDGBLOG meets Italo Calvino. Gorgeous, smart, fun, and full of surprises, like wandering all the world's great cities at once ... Irresistible * Wired.com * Handsome and well-written ... the great strength of City is that it gathers in one place myriad themes and angles, providing generalists with a highly readable, pithy resume of centuries of city-related happenings and trends. Authors such as Alain de Botton and Iain Sinclair have covered similar territory elsewhere, but Smith is less pretentious and and less opaque than either * TLS * City is wholly accessible to the serious general reader ... If there's anything of consequence about cities that Smith fails to discuss or at least mention, I don't know what it is * Washington Post * This offering is generalist in focus, well presented and strikingly illustrated. It is...a most readable and accessible guidebook backed up by a very full bibliography and notes. This is not a guide to cities, but to the human phenomenon that is the city. Take this to New York and you will get lost, take it to bed and you will be inspired. Peter Smith is a journalist and his easy style makes it a pleasure to read... The book is an excellent introduction to the city, and should be on every student's reading list. It is a valuable scenesetter and allows the reader to dip in and out at will, which is exactly what a guidebook should do. -- Richard Cole * Urban Design *