PRAISE FROM JARED DIAMOND: “Monica Smith is the person best qualified to write a book about the big problems raised by the increasing concentration of the human population into cities. She also has a gift for vivid writing that will make the science of cities come to life for the broad public.”—Jared Diamond, author of Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed and Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies
ORIGINALITY: Smith’s archeological perspective on a fact of modern life is utterly unique. This is a big idea book that tackles the very origins of our society, sure to be critically acclaimed by fellow scientists as well the general reader.
GROWING CITIES: Cities is the rare book on archeology that is also timely and hugely relevant to us today, as scientists predict that by 2030, more than 50% of Africans, 60% of Chinese, 87% percentage of Americans, and 92% of the residents of the United Kingdom will live in cities.
“[A] compelling journey from city life in ancient urban centers to the present and beyond…By the time the book reaches the urban-age anxieties of the present, we not only appreciate their proper place within the complex trajectory of cities and their rise, we are compelled to consider Smith’s assertion that cities were, and continue to be, central to human ascendancy—for better or worse.”—Science
“Monica Smith is the person best qualified to write a book about the big problems raised by the increasing concentration of the human population into cities. She also has a gift for vivid writing that makes the science of cities come to life for the broad public.”—Jared Diamond, author of Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed and Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies
“Cities captures the reality and stress of how we make cities and how, sometimes, cities make us. This is a must-read book for any city dweller with a voracious appetite for understanding the wonders of cities and why we’re so attracted to them.”—Zahi Hawass, author of Hidden Treasures of Ancient Egypt
“[An] enjoyable, humorous combination of archeological findings, historical documents, and present-day experiences.” —Publishers Weekly
“Smith enthusiastically recounts her work and the findings of colleagues. As they dig to bedrock, making surprising discoveries in each layer of debris, they are overturning past assumptions about the origins and development of cities…Readers can sense Smith’s love of archaeology; her chapter on archaeological methods is especially engaging.”—Booklist
“A thought-provoking, useful survey.”—Kirkus Reviews
“A panoramic guide to our earliest urban areas, places that seem both so foreign and so familiar. Monica Smith’s fascinating description of the many millennia of city building should remind us that we are an urban species. The cities that Smith describes faced many of the same challenges as our cities today, and the lessons of that past remain important today. This is a rich treatment of the growing and important field of urban archaeology, which continues to yield new surprises and insights that matter for city making today. Cities are responsible for many of the best things that humankind has achieved—Monica Smith tells the story of how we built the cities that made everything else possible.”—Edward Glaeser, author of Triumph of the City
“This engaging book excavates the story of the cities we take for granted today—and clearly shows the origins of so many present day concepts from millennia ago. Fun and full of fantastic stories from Professor Smith’s career, this book is highly recommended for anyone interested in the roots of our so-called ‘modern’ urban life.”—Sarah Parcak, author of Archaeology from Space: How the Future Shapes Our Past
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