The World Affairs Council Book Club will discuss Metropolis: A History of the City, Humankind's Greatest Invention by Ben Wilson.
April 2022 Selection:
In a captivating tour of cities famous and forgotten, acclaimed historian Ben Wilson tells the glorious, millennia-spanning story how urban living sparked humankind's greatest innovations.
“A towering achievement. . . . Reading this book is like visiting an exhilarating city for the first time—dazzling.” —The Wall Street Journal
During the two hundred millennia of humanity’s existence, nothing has shaped us more profoundly than the city. From their very beginnings, cities created such a flourishing of human endeavor—new professions, new forms of art, worship and trade—that they kick-started civilization. Guiding us through the centuries, Wilson reveals the innovations nurtured by the inimitable energy of human beings together: civics in the agora of Athens, global trade in ninth-century Baghdad, finance in the coffeehouses of London, domestic comforts in the heart of Amsterdam, peacocking in Belle Époque Paris. In the modern age, the skyscrapers of New York City inspired utopian visions of community design, while the trees of twenty-first-century Seattle and Shanghai point to a sustainable future in the age of climate change. Page-turning, irresistible, and rich with engrossing detail, Metropolis is a brilliant demonstration that the story of human civilization is the story of cities.