Beneath the Metropolis: The Secret Lives Of Cities Hardcover – Oct 25 2006
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"The author plumbs the depths of a dozen cities, and his notes from underground illuminate a great deal about the respective metropoles' aboveground histories." - Mike Wallace, co-author, Gotham: A History of New York to 1898 "The murky and miraculous worlds of connection beneath cities - what a fantastic, and overdue topic for a book! Alex Marshall carries off the assignment with accuracy, aplomb, and great writing." - Neal Peirce, Washington-Post Writers Group" --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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--Christopher D. Ringwald, author of A Day Apart: How Jews, Christians, and Muslims Find Faith, Freedom, and Joy on the Sabbath (Oxford, 2007)
The book tried to give technical and historical information on a dozen cites, but it only had about 20 pages per city to cover all of this. That just wasn't enough to do justice to either topic. Also, there were a lot of pictures, graphics, etc, which reduced the actual discussion still further.
The graphics were maddening. They gave just enough info to whet your appetite, but they never went beyond the superficial. For instance, each city had a vertical graphic showing typical things beneath that city, but they were not detailed enough for me.
I guess I would have preferred for the author to focus on just a couple of cities, and go into more detail about what lies beneath the. If you're looking for a "gee whiz" intro to the topic, this might be OK, but otherwise it was disappointing.
While not exactly a scholarly work, Marshall has done an excellent job researching - to the tune of 24 pages of references! The book goes through the undergrounds of a dozen or so cities around the world, describing what we could find underground and giving a little history lesson at the same time.
Highly recommended for anyone interested in urban areas and development over time.
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