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Міста. Перші 6000 років

3.26  ·  Rating details ·  247 ratings  ·  47 reviews
Шість тисяч років тому на планеті не було міст, а сьогодні більше половини населення проживає в урбанізованих районах, і це число тільки зростає. Переплітаючи археологію, історію і сучасні спостереження, Моніка Сміт пояснює, чому міста стали такими необхідними й живучими утвореннями, якими їх ми знаємо сьогодні. Сміт проводить читачеві екскурсію стародавнім світом - від Те ...more
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published 2020 by КМ-Букс (first published April 16th 2019)
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I am a big fan of learning about cities. I don't know when it started, but cities just fascinate me. I've read a few great books on the topic, but unfortunately, Smith's "Cities: The First 6,000 Years" was not one of them. A better title for the book would have been "Archaeology: The First 6,000 Years of Cities" because she spoke a lot more about the PROCESS of uncovering ancient cities than she did about the cities themselves. If you want to learn about modern archaeology, I'd suggest "The Lost ...more
Anne Morgan
Apr 10, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In her book Cities: The First 6,000 Years, archaeologist Monica L. Smith gives us the story of cities: how people built them and why, how ancient cities compare to modern cities, and how cities impact the people who live in them. It is a fascinating look at the urban environments that so many of us take for granted, unquestioningly walking streets everyday without considering why or what went before.

Smith's love of archaeology and discovery shine clearly off of each page- she seems as eager to s
Evin Ashley
Jul 06, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is so delightful; you connect so many dots about society, infrastructure and evolution.

The author, Monica, is absolutely adorable. She is such a talented writer - making a typically dry archaeological topic dynamic and stimulating, by infusing it with empathetic observations about human nature and technological progress.

I found particularly thought provoking her statement that anxiety was woven into the tapestry of city life (p.221) - that with the rise in choice that comes with a vibr
Having read the blurbs on the back cover, I was a bit disappointed in this book. It is a subject that I know quite a bit about as a professor of ancient history and culture. The book repeats itself several times, e.g. cities offer the young a chance for mate selection that living in isolated villages (where all are more or less closely related), cities provide more intellectual and cultural exchange, etc. But for someone not so familiar with what archaeology has revealed about urbanization in th ...more
Aug 03, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

“Cities became the ‘sweet spot’ for human interactions that melded both individual opportunity and a permanence of place.”

Smith has a pleasing way of writing and an interesting way of viewing things, which make this a real pleasure to read. On the surface she deals with archaeology, but as this develops this becomes about so much more as she flirts with many subjects from property rights, the middle classes and consumption and what it might say about civilizations.

Often she gives us teasing gli
Bryan Alkire
Nov 03, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This book is frankly boring. I’ve fallen asleep several times while trying to read it. But, I did finish it through sheer willpower. It’s got dismal writing and the light touches just seem contrived and fall flat. It lacks a real theme and seems to really be a bunch of essay topics about cities rather than a coherent book. Some of the observations are interesting, but nothing is in-depth. It’s not a book about history or archaeology or planning or really anything but a ramble about the importanc ...more
Jul 17, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
As an overview of the historical growth of cities and how they are a reflection of who we are as a species, this book does an okay job. The author was at her best when she specifically talked about digs she either conducted or participated in and explained examples of what archaeologists discovered that were relevant to the subject to the chapter.

For example, there is a chapter called "The Harmony of Consumption", a chapter that discusses consumption, trash, waste and pollution both in ancient
May 21, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A good, interesting and educational read with a surprise section on grammar, discussion of London's sewage problem and the "big stink" and the LA's St. Francis Dam (apparently I'm an infrastructure geek). Lots of information in a relatively small tome; an overall excellent read. Good stuff from the book.

1st - defining what a city is:
... a city is defined as a place that has some or all of the following characteristics: a dense population, multiple ethnicities, and a diverse economy with goods fo
James Meanwell
While the book is a reasonably enjoyable read, it is frustratingly unfocused and much less scientific than I had expected. Much of book consists of semi-related anecdotes about cities and the author’s unsupported “reckons”.

To give just a few of the many examples of things that annoyed me:

- The book is titled “Cities: The first 6000 Years”. I expected a narrative that explained why we start 6000 years ago, which cities were especially important in that developmental process, and why. This is not
Yodan Rofe
Jan 05, 2021 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: urbanism
An archeological perspective on cities, which is interesting, as it shows that many of the problems and opportunities we see in cities, have always been there. I found it however a bit too cavalier with regard to cities' impact on the ecology, and their erosion of their own resource base. Also, what may have worked quite well for 6,000, may not continue to work well in the next century - as cities have transformed from being a small part of humanity's environment (though crucial), to the majorit ...more
Informative and insightful, but a bit repetitive. I would recommend it though.
Ouriel Attal
Not the best but still interesting !
Miriam Williams
Eh. Loved the archeological details, but mostly this was just an obvious, somewhat simplified account of how cities operate.
Aug 23, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I really wanted to like this book, carryover lessons from ancient urbanism could be really cool. Unfortunately, Professor Smith stumbles with the premise. Her field archaeology is awesome and some of her theories are very engaging, but the social and political science is very lacking.

There are many nods to "entrepreneurship" and an innate belief that people are destined to live in cities that I think require much more buttressing before they can be treated as meaningful objects of debate, also t
May 10, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
This survey on the history of cities seems a little light. Although it is full of interesting snippets but still rambles.

I must note, the end of this book contains the silliest analysis I’ve read in a while:

“In 2017, there were three major hurricanes in the US: in Texas, Florida, and Puerto Rico. Although the damage to Puerto Rico was in many ways far greater for its lasting potential effect, it received much less federal recognition than the other areas. Political pundits suggested that the comparatively limited attention was due to disaster fatigue or racism; although those elements might have played a role, the
Not so much the archaeology and discovery of the earliest cities on Earth but more an anthropological look at why humans gravitated to create cities and why - over the millennia - they will continue to exist,

The book starts really slow which is not really that surprising since we are talking about humans slowly meandering out of Africa. Collecting in family groups and eventually extended family groups. That would meet and work together to create ritual centers like Stonehenge and Gobekli Tepe. E
Feb 26, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a pretty interesting, not too complex, analysis of what cities are and their history. Monica L Smith goes back to the earliest cities and compares them with modern cities, noting a lot of similarities and interesting patterns.

The book is at its best when it traces the origin of some urban feature, be it sewage systems or knockoff fashions, back to its roots. I found the stuff about what cities allowed people to do differently with their lives, how cities formed before writing and money,
Brad McKenna
May 14, 2021 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gbg
Ms. Smith's writing style was funnier than I expected and there were a lot of "I didn't know that!" moments in the book. But, ultimately, I'm not interested enough in non-Indiana Jones style (aka fictionalized) archeology. My attention kept slipping away from this book. This isn't the first time I've picked up a book that uses archeology to prove a point; I read The Horse, The Wheel, and Language about tracing the Indo-European language's origin to a specific geographic region. When that author ...more
José Angel Hernández
This was a very enjoyable and succinct read about how humans created cities and also about how cities created us. One of the main arguments of the book is that 6000 years ago there were not many cities and today almost half the population on the planet now resides in an Urban setting, or what we today was call the city. Her archaeological knowledge of the ancient world, especially that of Mexico with respect to Teotihuacan and Tenochtitlan, are impressive and refreshing to see in a perspective t ...more
Frances Haynes
Although it has some interesting bits*, such as some of the stuff on trash, I wasn't finding this book particularly useful. This is partly because it's often quite vague, often using a list of cities or examples abstracted from their contexts where a more specific example would be helpful. The author also uses words like "venture capitalist" and "entrepeneur", which make sense in specific economic systems, to describe roles in other economic systems, without complicating them (and although this ...more
2019-07 - Cities: The First 6,000 Years. Monica L. Smith (Author) 2019. 304 Pages.

I encountered this book on Book TV, while watching the author give a book talk. Her talk proved interesting enough that by the end of it I had this book on reserve at my local library. Her focus is not on the grand or monumental. She is much more interested in the mundane. I think this makes for great storytelling and an approach for more than the casual reader who just wants highlights. In this book you learn a l
Nov 09, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
First I would rate the book more 3.5 stars than 4. The book I believe is part of a genre of popular science of its own. I liked how the author tried to bridge a gap between archeology and what the non-expert perceives or understands. The author tries to make the point that cities were and are essential to human progress, they bring people with all backgrounds together and they have to manage to live and prosper in close proximity. Citizens were in a fertile environment for innovation, and innova ...more
Francis Desautel
Mar 28, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
For those looking for a book on the composition of cities you learned about in history class, this is not your book. If you are looking for a book on why cities first developed then look no further.

The title may be a bit deceiving, but I believe this book has a lot of value and brings a perspective to the table that I haven't seen before. My history classes - in high school and university - usually paid little attention to the first cities and just lump them alongside ancient civilizations and p
Julie Ershadi
Oct 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this read. It's a pop-friendly look at the history of cities and the role they have played in the development of the human race. In fact the book has convinced me that cities and development are one in the same. I was also pleased to learn in another context today that "madani", an adjective in Persian (deriving from Arabic), comes from the same root as the word "city" but means "civilized", implying that the two are inherently linked. Anyway, this book helped me to think in new ...more
Dan Drake
I was hoping for something sitting between Against the Grain: A Deep History of the Earliest States and Scale: The Universal Laws of Growth, Innovation, Sustainability, and the Pace of Life in Organisms, Cities, Economies, and Companies, but this was mostly just breezy descriptions of archaeological finds from various ancient cities. Which is great, but I just didn't find it that interesting.

Lauren Thornberg
This book is like many cities - it suffers from sprawl.

It isn't very organized, with several chapters repeating the content of other chapters. For example, on page 116: "...once a master artisan had made the mold, less skilled employees (who could be compensated at a lower rate) could churn out perfectly executed copies." Meanwhile, on page 157: "...once a master carver had made a mold, a relatively untutored (and underpaid) apprentice could just fill the molds over and over again." These are a
James Hallmark
Smith is a professor of archeology at UCLA specializing in cities. She writes this book from personal experience, “digs” she has worked. Furthermore, this book is written for the casual audience, her effort to make her knowledge accessible to people like me (not an expert). I always appreciate when world renowned experts write books for the common intelligent reader. And there are some really interesting segments of the book, trivia if you will. Unfortunately, this book falls short for me. I thi ...more
Feb 19, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I like the idea of this book but I found it to be a muddy read. There are many, many bits of information here but it was difficult for me to get a firm grip on what Smith was trying to say about cities and the human impulse to form them.

Smith is an archaeologist and the book gives heavy emphasis to the archaeological perspective on ancient cities (there are many mentions on the remains of ancient construction that is visible by satellite). After reading this book, however, I am not sure I am mor
Sam Orndorff
Mar 24, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This archeological overview of urbanization provides a fascinating glimpse into how daily life molds cities. I always love when writers can connect present day experiences to our ancestors, who always faced the same struggles we do - Smith does an excellent job of this. I wasn’t expecting issues like religion to play such a key role in early sites where humans gathered over millennia. Smith closely links secularization of places as parallel to urbanization.

Her approach is informed by her digs a
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Hello readers! I'm an archaeologist based at UCLA where I use my background of global field research to identify the things that make human societies and settlements distinct.

How did I start studying cities? Many years ago I moved to Manhattan after living in a small town while I was a graduate student. That move was electrifying and made me think about what it meant to be an urban person. The mo

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