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Beneath the Metropolis: The Secret Lives of Cities

3.63  ·  Rating Details  ·  52 Ratings  ·  12 Reviews
The pulse of great cities may be most palpable above ground, but it is below the busy streets where we can observe their rich archaeological history and the infrastructure that keeps them running. In The Secret Lives of Cities journalist Alex Marshall investigates how geological features, archaeological remnants of past civilizations, and layered networks transporting wate ...more
Hardcover, 240 pages
Published October 16th 2006 by Running Press (first published 2006)
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Aug 01, 2014 Elizabeth rated it really liked it
This is a fascinating look at the infrastructure of cities..New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Moscow, Paris, Tokyo...and more! It's pretty easy to take our drinking water, electricity, gas, subways for granted when we don't see how they operate. Each city has its challenges..earthquakes, mud, previous digging.

The book is well illustrated and clear. Any teenager who is interested in urban structure would love it and a grown up like me!

Underground Moscow has tunnels no one knows about except illeg
Jan 03, 2011 Keith rated it liked it
This book looks at the history and development of twelve major international cities via the infrastructure built underneath them. There is a brief introduction and conclusion, but the bulk of the book is the chapters for each of these cities---New York, Chicago, San Francisco, London, Paris, Rome, Moscow, Mexico City, Cairo, Beijing, Tokyo, and Sydney.

I'm pretty much the target audience for this book---I'm a life-long city-dweller, I like to read and think about how cities work, and I am interes
Dec 08, 2009 Adrienne rated it liked it
If you were planning to visit my hometown of Seattle, and asked me what a fun thing to do would be, I'd recommend that you take the Seattle Underground Tour. A terrible fire that destroyed much of the downtown area in 1889 caused the locals to build on top of the rubble and to raise the levels of the streets. The abandoned basements and sidewalks are today a tourist attraction, and a very interesting one at that (it doesn't hurt that early Seattle had its fair share of odd characters and the tou ...more
Elaine Meszaros
Dec 03, 2014 Elaine Meszaros rated it liked it
Marshall gives a short overview on a number of famous cities and their secret underground. From waterworks, subway tunnels, aqueducts, crypts and even whole secret cities and train systems under Moscow, most major metropolitan areas have thousands of feet of under-structures that very few people are aware of. A good starter book for anyone interested in learning about underground structures.
May 24, 2014 Marilyn rated it it was amazing
Watch out. I think this may the the christmas gift everyone will get! I liked that there are cities from Europe but also Mexico city, Cairo and Beijing. Moscow underground is very interesting with treasure still hiding from Ivan the Terrible, and chambers of horrors, and radioactive bits, and secret subways to undisclosed towns. marvelous. the writing is good, not dull at all.
Beth Callahan
Apr 08, 2008 Beth Callahan rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 27, 2011 Tim rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
This book moves too fast. It had everything I wanted -- history, photos, descriptions, culture -- but I wanted more of all of that. Too few pages are devoted to each city. I think this might have been better in more depth, perhaps in two volumes so the book isn't huge.

And one niggling complaint; there are lots of nice photos, several photos, including the cover photo, appear to have no caption. So the reader is left wondering at times what they are looking at.

Snail in Danger (Sid) Nicolaides
Nov 18, 2011 Snail in Danger (Sid) Nicolaides rated it it was ok
Recommended to Snail in Danger (Sid) by:
Shelves: infrastructure
Gave this a skim/flip-through. More like 2.5. A pretty decent overview, though it only looks at a handful of mega-cities. It had some interesting sidebars and really excellent photos. Though at least one illustration was mis-captioned Haussman's sewer did not exist in the 15th century IIRC. The photos were also (as is fairly usual, sadly) poorly attributed. Giving the name of the image service = insufficient. It did have a (partial?) bibliography, though. ...more
May 31, 2012 J rated it liked it
Shelves: 2012
This book like some other readers mentioned is a good introduction to how few cities are underground, specifically from their subway/train and sewage systems, along with some archaeological information. It's pretty interesting,at least for me, but it doesn't go too deep and leaves you wondering, which for me, I guess is not a bad thing.
Phil Breidenbach
Aug 16, 2013 Phil Breidenbach rated it it was amazing
Very interesting book on the history and the infrastructures (?) below the cities.
Missie Kay The Book Fix
Jul 12, 2011 Missie Kay The Book Fix rated it really liked it
Shelves: review
An interesting guide for the absolute novice (like me) to civil engineering.
Leondis Jones
Apr 30, 2012 Leondis Jones rated it it was amazing
Must have for the history section.
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I was born in Norfolk, Virginia, and raised in the suburban wilderness of Virginia Beach. I went away to the Catholic, Polish lands of Pittsburg for college, and then ended up exiling myself in Spain for two years. I returned, and after a sojourn teaching school and visiting Central America during the war then, I became a journalist. I worked at The Virginian-Pilot for almost 10 years, after gradu ...more
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