While this book is about the city and its role in history, if you want a deeply historical account you may be a little disappointed, as this book is firmly rooted in the present day.
It works chronologically, going from ancient cities of Egypt and Roman times up to present day London and New York, but the present day city is really the guidiing light behind the book, which is in no way a bad thing. Despite the fairly heavy subject, the book reads well (which isn't always the case with historical tomes) and provides a good balance between catering to the layman and the more knowledgable reader.
I found the parts about the 12th to 16th centuries most enlightening, as the author looked at the rise of notes of exchange in Italy and the problems that arose from the choice of Madrid as the capital of Spain.
For any lovers of Rabelais out there, you won't be disappointed in how much attention is paid to human waste in this book, and the author's coverage of the development of sewage disposal is frankly gripping. Bizarre as that might sound, it sheds a lot of light on the general trends behind the development as the city of a whole, and the trial and error procedures that have lead to many of its most successful developments.
The book ends with a nod to the future and a note on global warming, and as such it contains within its 300 pages something about every era of the city, which is no mean feat, and as a result of this book I'm now buying books about the periods in it that interested me the most, which in its way is more than a recommendation for any book.