Normally, I don't mean to be harsh. I also hardly ever write book reviews, but Mr. Kotkin's the City was so disappointing I felt a duty to warn others.
I should have been tipped off by the book's short length, but I only thought that Kotkin would therefore leave out a lot in favor of threading together an interesting thesis. Kotkin goes the other route, trying to stuff in as much as possible and therefore actually saying very little.
The author seemingly attempts to discuss every major city in the history of mankind. The bibliography starts on page 161 so there is very little room to do so.
With the chapters so short and divided so frequently, Kotkin could have gotten the same effect by asking a bunch of high school students to do a short (but admittedly erudite) summary of a major city. Put those together and you have this book.
Terribly disappointing for someone hoping for depth and substance.