Cities in Civilization is a magnificent monument to human creativity, ingenuity, and beauty. More than half of this thousand page book is dedicated to examining the "golden ages" of various cities, searching for both commonalities and distinguishing characteristics. The first three hundred pages are devoted to creative and artistic golden ages, beginning with classical Athens and ending with Weimar Berlin, passing through Renaissance Florence, Elizabethan London, Vienna in the long nineteenth century, and Paris between war with Prussia and the first war with Germany. The next two hundred pages deal with innovative golden ages, beginning with industrial Manchester and ending with post-war Tokyo, passing though steam-ship Glasgow, Berlin of the Kaisers, Ford's Detroit, and Silicon Valley. Thirdly, Hall looks at the combinations of the creative and innovative urges that created golden ages in Los Angeles in the early twentieth century and Memphis in the middle of the same century. Finally, Hall spends the last half of the book scrutinizing the various ways that cities have combatted crowding, scarce resources, pollution, disease, transportation, and employment throughout history. This section begins with imperial Rom and ends with contemporary London, passing thorugh early industrial London, Haussmann's Paris, New York after the reconstruction of the American South, Los Angles throughout the twentieth century, and socialist Stockholm. Through the entire journey Hall takes us through twenty-one cities and eras, showing us their greatness as well as the factors that made them so. The journey is fantastic and brilliant. Hall shines as a historian, and displays a deep understanding of true scholarship and the academic process. Alternative views are always presented in an unbiased way, and when the accuracy of information (oftne the case up until the late modern period) cannot be determined he let's that be known. Hall does an excellent job of showing how people lived in these different times and locations, showing us that the notion and nature of a "golden age" has itself changed over time. A small detractor from the quality of the book is that there are no maps, and very few (proportionally) photographs and illustrations, but the main detractor is simply that it couldn't be longer. This is a stupendous achievement that you won't want to put down.