Four Lost Cities: A Secret History of the Urban Age

Four Lost Cities: A Secret History of the Urban Age Details

A quest to explore some of the most spectacular ancient cities in human history—and figure out why people abandoned them.

In Four Lost Cities, acclaimed science journalist Annalee Newitz takes readers on an entertaining and mind-bending adventure into the deep history of urban life. Investigating across the centuries and around the world, Newitz explores the rise and fall of four ancient cities, each the center of a sophisticated civilization: the Neolithic site of Çatalhöyük in Central Turkey, the Roman vacation town of Pompeii on Italy’s southern coast, the medieval megacity of Angkor in Cambodia, and the indigenous metropolis Cahokia, which stood beside the Mississippi River where East St. Louis is today.

Newitz travels to all four sites and investigates the cutting-edge research in archaeology, revealing the mix of environmental changes and political turmoil that doomed these ancient settlements. Tracing the early development of urban planning, Newitz also introduces us to the often anonymous workers—slaves, women, immigrants, and manual laborers—who built these cities and created monuments that lasted millennia.

Four Lost Cities is a journey into the forgotten past, but, foreseeing a future in which the majority of people on Earth will be living in cities, it may also reveal something of our own fate.

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Title:Four Lost Cities: A Secret History of the Urban Age
ISBN:9780393652666
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    Four Lost Cities: A Secret History of the Urban Age Reviews

  • Jenna

    View of the central structure of Angkor Wat (built in the 12th century CE), photo by Jakub HałunIn the early days of the Pandemic, there were a number of Americans who apparently believed toilet pap...

  • Rachel (Kalanadi)

    3.5 stars...

  • Katie P.

    Blog ✍ | Facebook 👩 | Twitter 🐦 | Instagram 📸Four Lost Cities is an incredibly interesting and topical monograph that isn't a monograph. The author, Annalee Newitz, takes readers through a ...

  • Monika

    We all would’ve learnt about ancient civilisations in history. But what do we really know about them? Why did people abandon those sophisticated civilisations? These may be questions for archeologis...

  • Jeanette

    This holds oodles of information. My main focus was on Cahokia, yet all 4 parts were thorough. I'm glad I read it. A task that took much longer than any most usual geographical type non-fiction I've r...

  • Mal Warwick

    To say that Annalee Newitz’s interests are eclectic grossly understates the point. They—Newitz’s personal pronouns are they/their/theirs—are the author of two science fiction novels and two wo...

  • Nenia ?? I yeet my books back and forth ?? Campbell

    Really interesting. I like that the author tried to focus on cities from all over the world, including a Native American ancient city that dates back to early Medieval times!!!!GR review to come, or r...

  • Nina

    Very well researched and well written. The cities chosen for this book - Çatalhöyük, Pompeii, Angkor and Cahokia - all have very different stories and backgrounds, which makes this book a real trea...

  • Matthew Galloway

    This was a pleasant, light anthropological read that explores four cities around the world and some of the theories about why they were abandoned. I knew a lot of it from my anthropology degree, but i...

  • Letcia

    So much of what we learn about the history of civilizations is based on big, larger than life concepts: a neat arc of rise and fall, and a focus on what life was like within the elite. Annalee Newitz'...