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The Evolution of Urban Society

ISBN-13: 978-0202308180
ISBN-10: 0202308189
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Great City Maps by DK
30 of the World's Greatest Historical City Maps
A beautifully illustrated history of the world's most celebrated historical city maps, from the hubs of ancient civilization to sprawling modern mega-cities, created in association with the Smithsonian Institution. Learn more
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Editorial Reviews


“[I]n The Evolution of Urban Society, Robert Adams has produced a work which uses new data not only to amend some of Steward’s daring “trial formulations” but to show us how “specialists in particular subjects can reformulate general positions in the light of their particular knowledge”… One of the many virtues of this brief but extremely valuable book is that its author provides us with the data with which we may, if we choose, examine our personal prejudices or doubts on these tired theoretical issues… [I]n his insightful comparison of the processes of development and change in two widely-separated urban societies he has, I believe, provided clear empirical evidence that the developments in Mesopotamia between around 3900 B.S. and 2300 B.C. are enough like those that took place in Mexico around 100 B.C. and A.D. 1500 to be regarded as independent “variants of a single processual pattern.” And that is no small achievement.”

—Robert A. Manners, American Antiquity

“[B]y his comparison of the Mesopotamian and Mexican developments he has contributed significantly to our understand of each. We need more such comparisons.”

—Irving Rouse, Man

The Evolution of Urban Society is marked not only by the freshness of its approach to the problem of understanding the growth of early civilization, but also by a depth of fact and insight that will require careful study and more than a single reading to assimilate. That this is true is merely recognition of the unique authority imposed by the special background and exceptional gifts that only Professor Adams could bring to such a study.”

—Joe D. Seger, Journal of American Oriental Society

“From the point of view of the history of civilization, this little book, the work of a scholar with a superb anthropological training and background as well as intimate knowledge and understanding of the archeology, history, and culture of Ancient Mesopotamia, may well turn out to be a minor classic.”

—Samuel Noah Kramer, Journal of Near Eastern Studies

About the Author

Robert McC. Adams, until his retirement in 1994, was the secretary of the Smithsonian Institution. He is presently adjunct professor at the University of California, San Diego, and has also served on the faculty of the University of Chicago, in its Oriental Institute and Department of Anthropology. He is the author or editor of several books, including The Land Behind Baghdad and Paths of Fire: An Anthropologist's Inquiry into Western Society. In 1996, Adams was recipient of the Distinguished Service Award from the Society for American Archaeology.


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