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Cities: The First 6,000 Years
Smith, Monica L.
A sweeping history of cities through the millennia--from Mesopotamia to Manhattan--and how they have propelled Homo sapiens to dominance.Six thousand years ago, there were no cities on the planet. Today, more than half of the world's population lives in urban areas, and that number is growing. Weaving together archeology, history, and contemporary observations, Monica Smith explains the rise of the first urban developments and their connection to our own. She takes readers on a journey through the ancient world of Tell Brak in modern-day Syria; Teotihuacan and Tenochtitlan in Mexico; her own digs in India; as well as the more well-known Pompeii, Rome, and Athens. Along the way, she presents the unique properties that made cities singularly responsible for the flowering of humankind: the development of networked infrastructure, the rise of an entrepreneurial middle class, and the culture of consumption that results in everything from take-out food to the tell-tale secrets of trash.Cities is an impassioned and learned account full of fascinating details of daily life in ancient urban centers, using archaeological perspectives to show that the aspects of cities we find most irresistible (and the most annoying) have been with us since the very beginnings of urbanism itself. She also proves the rise of cities was hardly inevitable, yet it was crucial to the eventual global dominance of our species--and that cities are here to stay.
1945: The Year That Made Modern Canada
It was a watershed year for Canada and the world. 1945 set Canada on a bold course into the future. A huge sense of relief marked the end of hostilities. Yet there was also fear and uncertainty about the perilous new world that was unfolding in the wake of the American decision to use the atomic bomb to bring the war in the Pacific to a dramatic halt. On the eve of WWII, the Dominion of Canada was a sleepy backwater still struggling to escape the despair of the Great Depression. But the war changed everything. After six long years of conflict, sacrifice and soul-searching, the country emerged onto the world stage as a modern, confident and truly independent nation no longer under the colonial sway of Great Britain. Ken Cuthbertson has written a highly readable narrative that commemorates the seventy-fifth anniversary of the end of WWII and chronicles the events and personalities of a critical year that reshaped Canada. 1945: The Year That Made Modern Canada showcases the stories of people - some celebrated, some ordinary - who left their mark on the nation and helped create the Canada of today. The author profiles an eclectic group of Canadians, including eccentric prime minister Mackenzie King, iconic hockey superstar Rocket Richard, business tycoon E. P. Taylor, Soviet defector Igor Gouzenko, the bandits of the Polka Dot Gang, crusading MP Agnes Macphail, and authors Gabrielle Roy and Hugh MacLennan, among many others. The book also covers topics like the Halifax riots, war brides, the birth of Canada’s beloved social safety net, and the remarkable events that sparked the Cold War. 1945 is the unforgettable story of our nation at the moment of its modern birth.
Happy City: Transforming Our Lives Through Urban Design
More of us than ever are moving to inner cities, mixed-use suburbs, and densely constructed towns. Our surroundings have certainly changed - but is city living cheering us up, or are we as gloomy on our walks to the subway as we were on our long predawn commutes? And if that's the case, how can we turn things around? In breezy, vivid prose, Montgomery reports from such exciting and dysfunctional places as Bogotá, once a dangerous, car-obsessed city, now a bike-loving model of civic excellence; California's San Joaquin Valley in the apocalyptic aftermath of the housing crisis; and a suburb of Vancouver, where a power company gathers energy from sewage to provide its citizens with heat and hot water. Full of cutting-edge insights from behavioral economists and leading urban thinkers, Happy City offers a completely new way to examine city life, showing us how small innovations can radically improve our experiences. Practical, genial, and fiercely open-minded, Montgomery has written a brilliant book about what today's cities are getting right--and how tomorrow's cities can do even better.
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