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A fascinating look at four of the most spectacular cities in human history—and why they were all abandoned.
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 centre of a sophisticated civilisation: the Neolithic site of Çatalhöyük in Central Turkey, the Roman town of Pompeii on Italy’s southern coast, the medieval megacity of Angkor in Cambodia and the indigenous American 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 labourers—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.
"Newitz dispels myths, evokes fascinating stories, and makes us think hard about our own urban future." — Charles Mann
"Newitz always sees to the heart of complex systems and breaks them down with poetic ferocity." — NK Jemisin