Metropolis: A History of Humankind’s Greatest Invention
Ben Wilson | Vintage Publishing | Hardback
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.