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City Squares: Eighteen Writers on the Spirit and Significance of Squares Around the World Hardcover – Illustrated, April 12, 2016
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“A charming and informative guide to the architecture, history, politics, and culture of landmark square…. City squares are vital spaces throughout much of the globe.… Beautiful photos follow each essay.” (Chicago Tribune)
“Smartly divided into thematic sections: culture, geopolitics, and history…[and] beautifully illustrated.” (Wall Street Journal)
“Kaleidoscopic….A lively and stylishly illustrated collection, it’s perfect for dipping into on a bench in Union Square, or with an aperitivo in the Campo de’Fiori.” (Financial Times)
“City Squares is a beautiful and haunting collection of essays by some of the finest writers of today. Each chapter is a jewel in itself. Taken together, however, these essays demonstrate the endurance of the human spirit in the spaces and squares of public life.” (Dr. Amanda Foreman, historian and author of Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire and A World on Fire)
“Savor many of the world’s most important writers on many of the world’s most important places―city squares that incubate and animate democracy, culture and the human spirit. I love learning about how the personal stories of writers I admire intersect with history and urban life.” (Jonathan Alter, journalist and New York Times bestselling author)
“The essays and their accompanying photography interact with one another, constructing a cross-cultural narrative of diverse societal interaction and activism.” (Publishers Weekly)
“A corrective to travel writing’s tendency to obsess over wilderness and mountains, this collection of essays zooms in on the squares at the heart of the world’s cities.” (Financial Times Summer Books)
“[A] brilliant anthology of essays celebrating the city square…which travelers invariably find indispensable as starting, ending, or gathering points.” (National Geographic)
“The contributions…are thoughtful and sometimes even surprising…. A worthy celebration of the ‘one essential urban space’…. Dozens of images make a grand testimonial to how people live their lives in public spaces.” (Kirkus Reviews)
From the Back Cover
In this important collection, eighteen renowned writers—including Zadie Smith, New Yorker editor David Remnick, and New York Times bestselling author Ari Shavit—evoke the spirit of city squares around the world, in original essays enhanced by more than ninety stunning color photographs.
Over half of the world’s citizens now live in cities, and the number is growing. At the heart of these municipalities is the city square, the defining urban public space since the dawn of democracy in ancient Greece. Divided into three sections, focusing on culture, geopolitics, and history, and each introduced by incisive cultural observers—New York Times architecture critic Michael Kimmelman, David Remnick, and National Book Award winner George Packer—the essays in City Squares visit very different landmarks on four continents.
Some contributors have personal connections to the public spaces featured in their pieces: Paris’s Place des Vosges figures into Adam Gopnik’s own history as well as that of France, just as Rome’s piazzas are central to Zadie Smith’s recollection of her time in Italy. Others recognize sites of major import: Pulitzer Prize winner Anne Applebaum contrasts two Cold War–era landmarks, Moscow’s Red Square and Krakow’s Grand Market Square; while Evan Osnos reflects on the symbolic power of Beijing’s Tiananmen Square. But whether intimate or global in scope, each essay showcases its author’s prodigious research, local knowledge, and distinctive voice.
Accompanied by vibrant images from distinguished photographers such as Massimo Vitali and Philip-Lorca diCorcia, City Squares is a lesson in history, a portrait of our world today, and an exercise in thinking about the future. The rich history of London’s residential squares; a visit to Cairo’s Tahrir Square at the height of the Arab Spring; abandoning the physical altogether to investigate the concept of the virtual square: All are contemplations of the essential roles these sites play in global life.
Evocative, timely, and thought-provoking, City Squares explores ideas of identity, community, and memory. Here is a magisterial work that will change the way you look at a city.
Advance Praise for City Squares
“Public spaces are among the magical achievements of the human landscape. Entirely artificial, they make cities communities. They create a place where people are encouraged to gather, talk, eat, pray, govern, and mourn—together. They change the character of cities and thus of civilizations. Catie Marron has done a splendid job of bringing together some of the smartest voices to reflect on some of the most beautiful or important or intriguing public spaces in the world. The result is itself magical.”—Fareed Zakaria, author of In Defense of a Liberal Education
“City Squares is a beautiful and haunting collection of essays by some of the finest writers of today. Each chapter is a jewel in itself. Taken together, however, these essays demonstrate the endurance of the human spirit in the spaces and squares of public life. It can never be fully extinguished—even in the face of guns, tanks, and bulldozers.”—Dr. Amanda Foreman, historian and author of Georgiana: Duchess of Devonshire and A World on Fire
“Savor many of the world’s most important writers on many of the world’s most important places—city squares that incubate and animate democracy, culture, and the human spirit. I love learning about how the personal stories of writers I admire intersect with history and urban life.”—Jonathan Alter, journalist and New York Times bestselling author
“Catie Marron’s City Squares is a revelation. It takes you on an incredible journey across the world’s greatest cities and their squares through the eyes of the best writers and thinkers. With every turn of the page, you will learn something new.”—Richard Florida, Global Research Professor at New York University and national bestselling author of The Rise of the Creative Class
- Item Weight : 1.85 pounds
- Hardcover : 304 pages
- ISBN-13 : 978-0062380203
- ISBN-10 : 9780062380203
- Dimensions : 1.1 x 6.2 x 9.1 inches
- ASIN : 0062380206
- Publisher : Harper; Illustrated edition (April 12, 2016)
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: #1,371,851 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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From the Navona square in Rome to Tiannament square in Beijing.
Each plaza, each chapter, is written by a different and knowledgeable writer be it local or just going native.
An excellent choice for summer reading.
I was anxious to read about those which I've heard of such as Red Square and Tiananmen Square; but hard pressed to choose a favorite.
Definitely on my gift list. Well Done!!!!!