PD Smith

Best Books of 2012

01 December 2012 | cities, City | Post a comment

Edwin Heathcote, architecture critic of the Financial Times, included City among his Best Books of 2012. This is what he said:

"The city is a big subject but this is readable, concise and extremely entertaining. Smith spans the emergence of the first Middle Eastern cities – places with no streets, so inhabitants needed to walk on roofs and descend ladders to reach their homes – up to informal settlements and high-tech hubs today. Well-researched, well-written and clear."

Canadian author Taras Grescoe has written an excellent piece in the Globe & Mail on City and Jeff Speck’s Walkable City. Writing about City, he notes that "this crash course in urban civilization is a reminder of the complexity, cosmopolitanism and creativity that are engendered, and encouraged, by living and working cheek by jowl". Read the article here.

Eric Liebetrau, editor of Kirkus Reviews, has also included City among his Best Nonfiction of 2012. The full list is here.

Postscript, 8 December:

City was among the Notable Books of 2012 chosen by architectural writer Mark Lamster for Designers & Books. I'm still blushing at his fulsome praise for the book:

"Reading it is like being seated next to the most-informed, and most charming guest at your dream dinner party, someone with an endless font of facts enlivened by quirky and often hilarious anecdotes."

Read the rest of what he had to say and see the other excellent books he selected here. There was also a piece about City this weekend in the Los Angeles Times by Carolyn Kellogg. She writes:

"Smith deftly integrates the narratives of far-flung places across centuries. Discussing sports within city bounds, he draws a connection between the Roman Colosseum and skateboarders in Venice Beach. In this continuum, he creates an uber-city, a grand portrait of what urbanity is and might become."

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