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W. W. Norton & Company
<strong>Amazon Best Books of the Month, February 2013:</strong> When East meets West, the results can be surprising. Nowhere is this better displayed than in journalist Daniel Brook's <i>A History of Future Cities</i>, a book about Mumbai, Dubai, St. Petersburg, and Shanghai--four cities perched at the delta between Western and Eastern civilization. In these metropolises, imperialist and nationalist influences have layered, mixed, and aggregated into unusual new forms. Identity crises abound in St. Petersburg, built by Peter the Great, who fell in love with Amsterdam and tried to re-create it on a frozen Russian swamp; in Shanghai, propelled into the modern world as a foreign-dominated, no-passport-needed, economic and moral free zone. Brook explores cross-cultural politics, architecture, and ambitions reflected in four places that not only shaped history but may also indicate the future of many crossroad cities. --<i>Amazon Editors</i>
W. W. Norton & Company
<p><strong>A pioneering exploration of four cities where East meets West and past becomes future: St. Petersburg, Shanghai, Mumbai, and Dubai.</strong></p>On May 27, 1703, Tsar Peter the Great founded a new capital on a barren Baltic marsh. Modeled on Amsterdam, he believed it would erase Russian backwardness and usher in a modernized, Westernized future. In the nineteenth-century Age of Imperialism, the British rebuilt Bombay as a tropical London, while three Western powers made Shanghai look just like home. And in our own time, the sheikh of Dubai has endeavored to transform his desert city into a Vegas-esque skyscraper-studded global hub. The cultural and historical threads that connect these cities and their conflicted embrace of modernity are brought into relief in Daniel Brook’s captivating mix of history and reportage—a story of architects and authoritarians, artists and revolutionaries who take these facsimiles of the West and turn them into crucibles of non-Western modernity.<em> A History of Future Cities</em> is both a crucial reminder of globalization’s long march and an inspiring look into the possibilities of our Asian Century. 12 illustrations; 4 maps