Friday, October 30, 2009

5 cities that ruled the world

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Douglas Wilson’s book, 5 Cities that Ruled the World, about how major cities throughout time (Jerusalem, Athens, Rome, London, and New York) shaped global history is a fascinating read. I can’t say that I know enough about each city to identify any possible bias regarding their histories, and I’m little surprised at the exclusion of some cities, namely Constantinople, but I think that this is a great book for understanding world history.


Each city’s story is contained within one chapter. Things that are revealed about each city include its history (origin, major leaders, and wars and other events), its effect on the world stage, and its current state.

I found that the chapter on London contained the most “unknown” information. I guess perhaps I just didn’t know much about London history, especially the *very* early years (did you know London burned 15 times before the year 1300?!?).

My only real complaint with the book has nothing to do with its content, and instead is an issue with the materials. I can’t stand what the cover is made of–it’s a paperback, made of a textured paper, and I find it weird to touch. Other than that, the book is a great tool for learning more about our world’s major cities, and how they shaped the society in which we currently live, even from across the centuries and around the globe.

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