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Publisher's Summary

For the first time in the history of our planet, more than half the population - 3.3 billion people - is now living in cities. City is the ultimate guidebook to our urban centers - the signature unit of human civilization. With erudite prose, this unique work of metatourism explores what cities are and how they work. It covers history, customs and language, districts, transport, money, work, shops and markets, and tourist sites, creating a fantastically detailed portrait of the city through history and into the future.

The urban explorer will revel in essays on downtowns, suburbs, shantytowns and favelas, graffiti, skylines, crime, the theater, street food, sport, eco-cities, and sacred sites, as well as mini essays on the Tower of Babel, flash mobs, ghettos, skateboarding, and SimCity, among many others.

Acclaimed author and independent scholar P. D. Smith explores what it was like to live in the first cities, how they have evolved, and why in the future, cities will play an even greater role in human life.

©2012 P.D. Smith (P)2013 Audible, Inc.

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Whirlwind tour of cities - past, present, future

Smith's masterfully explores what 'city' really means. It's a portrait painted with examples, past and present that extend off into a hypothetical future. He covers transportation from walking cities to the impact of the automobile, city sports from gladiators to football to parkour, the influence of technology on cities, family relations, and a wide range of other topics. I've really come away with a more rooted view of cities, and a heck of a lot more knowledge about how and why they work the way they do.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Commuters companion

Before buying this book I saw a review describing this book as a "coffee table book" and I cannot think of a better way of describing it. It is no historical thesis; it jumps from topic to topic in time and place - but as long as that's what your expecting it is enjoyable. It is filled with interesting historical and anthropological facts and is an excellent commuters companion.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Overall and enjoyable And informative read

I can certainly agree with many other reviewers that the organisation of the book is slightly confusing. The first 90min of the book, I was unsure whether I'd enjoy this, but after getting used to it, it made for an enjoyable experience that made it an easy listen, driven by its narrative.

If you are very interested in cities' history, components, planning and other thinkers' philosophies and want to learn more, this is a great read. If you are looking to expand your knowledge on a specific topic though, the nonexistent structure of the chapters will make this book unsuitable.
Also, I would have wished for deeper analysis and holistic comparisons, which were lacking in the book.

The performance was overall good, however, odd pauses (sometimes too long, sometimes too short) and the many mispronounced foreign words made it less enjoyable than it could have been.

Nonetheless, overall I recommend this book.

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A brief history of humanity up until now!

it lets you think that it is up to us what happens for Humanity. it's really our choice at this point.

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An excellent survey of city life through the ages

I enjoyed CITY a lot and a lot more than I was expecting to. If you have read a few urban themed books you might have noticed that many of them draw on a common pool of tired and recycled examples. Not this book.

This is not a book of fresh thinking to save the city, it is a book that contemplates and surveys humanity's fascination with its own creation. P.D. Smith takes the reader from Mohenjo-daro to Blade Runner with many stops in between. I appreciate the well researched and non-chonological story telling, linking many similar experiences through the ages.

Fascinating and saturated with citation, this is likely a book that will leave you lost in contemplation and bring you back to its chapters many times after your first read. I would suggest the physical book for skimming afterwards but the audiobook performance was enjoyable still.

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for all the city dwellers

a complete ode to all the cities with their ups and downs from the first building blocks to the crumbling ruins. i've enjoyed this book from the start to the last word!

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Loved it!


Very interesting! I would absolutely recommend! I'd like to read more by this author. Audio performance was great as well.

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Wonderful!

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

I really loved this book. Great overview of essentially urban geography and urban history. I really appreciate the way the book is organized by different aspects of the city (Train station, slums, marketplaces, etc.). Author provides wonderful historical context balanced with current urban trends and future speculation of urban life and development. I would recommend it for any student or practitioner of geography, anthropology or sociology.

Who was your favorite character and why?

N/A - non-fiction

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Worth it

I am a architecture student and found this book to be extremely informative. Anyone who is interested In architecture needs this book in there stable.

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  • Tim
  • United States
  • 12-15-14

Jumble Together

The information that is presented in "City: A Guidebook for the Urban Age" is jumble together. The author has no organization skills. The book jumps from topic to topic with no cohesiveness. I don't mind text book writing, but I would hate to see the index of this book because the audiobook wasn't well put together. I don't know what Peter D. Smith was thinking, but the information of the topic is so random, that you feel that you are playing Trivial Pursuit. Poorly written in all counts.

1 of 3 people found this review helpful