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Hidden Cities: Travels to the Secret Corners of the World's Great Metropolises - A Memoir of Urban Exploration Paperback – 21 Mar 2013


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Hidden Cities: Travels to the Secret Corners of the World's Great Metropolises - A Memoir of Urban Exploration + Explore Everything: Place-hacking the City + Access All Areas: A User's Guide to the Art of Urban Exploration
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Product details

  • Paperback: 342 pages
  • Publisher: Tarcher (21 Mar. 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1585429341
  • ISBN-13: 978-1585429349
  • Product Dimensions: 13.8 x 2.5 x 20.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 501,821 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Hidden Cities In this fascinating glimpse into the world of urban exploration, Gates describes his trespasses in some of the most illustrious cities in the world from Paris to Cairo to Moscow. Gates is a new breed of adventurer for the 21st century and will inspire readers to think about the potential for urban exploration available for anyone, anywhere. Full description

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Michael Murphy on 31 Mar. 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I've had an interest in Urban Exploration for a few years, and picked up this book because it's quite rare to see a book published on the subject.

My first thoughts when receiving the book were 'boy, I thought there would be a lot more images' as there were only a few pages dedicated to photos, and then occasional images throughout the text. I think in the past the books I have managed to find on this subject are simply coffee table books that show you images and nothing else, so that's the first difference to be had here.

After starting reading I quickly became engaged with the protagonist. On one hand, he seemed 'just like me' showing the same fears and uncertainties in certain situations, yet on the other hand you start to think 'I wish I could do that' because realistically you don't see yourself standing in the same spots as he has managed to find himself.

I think I had originally expected the book to be a bit of showing off as well; perhaps a case of 'I'm better than you because I've been here and done that, and look - here's an image of me standing on top of somewhere you'll never be'. Instead I was treated to an intelligently written and humorous book that I almost see as an alternate travel guide with history lessons thrown in. I stopped caring about the lack of images as they were unnecessary to the text.

When reading books by travel authors I often think of how nice it would be to travel to some of the destinations being described. With Hidden Cities you get the same feeling, but the places being described here are all around you in your own city. You don't need to buy an expensive plane ticket and hotel to see them. You need to simply open your eyes and take a few steps more than you would normally do.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Extremely great book. If you are interested in topics that aren't usually discussed in the media, this is perfect. It's like a whole new world after you've read this book - you will automatically start to look for things in the city you've never looked for before. At the subway, you'll peek what's beyond the station, you'll scout for abandoned factories while on your roadtrip, and it makes you excited to think about everything that have been left unexplored by the public.
It's written in a very lighthearted way, so easy to read, and you'll spend hours before bed just reading, not being able to put the book down. I highly reccommend picking this up.
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By Calum Maclean on 18 Dec. 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Great book, recommended for all fans of exploration. Bradley has made a life of urban exploring and he gives some fascinating insights.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 27 reviews
15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
meh 21 May 2013
By C. P. Anderson - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
It's a fascinating topic. Moses Gates likes to go to places you're not supposed to go. These include places way up high (the top of the Brooklyn Bridge, the pinnacles of Notre Dame de Paris) and way down low (the river that runs under Moscow, the New York subway).

Unfortunately, though, about halfway through, the book's focus switches from these fascinating places to the author himself - his (more conventional) travels, his love life, his drunken and druggy friends, getting arrested. Not quite as interesting. In fact, he comes off as a rather pretentious, self-involved hipster type.

I noticed there were a lot of 5 stars reviews out there from contributors who have only this one review. (And one of them just so happens to have the same last name as the author.) Always a little suspicious when that happens. Hopefully, these are just urban explorer types who are happy to see a fellow traveler on Amazon. Really, though, the book isn't that great.
11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Some interesting parts 19 April 2013
By W. Archer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The accounts of 'urban exploration' adventures are disappointingly limited. Much of the text is about meeting up with friends, breaking up with girlfriends, a friend's use of alcohol and drugs, etc. Some of this is necessary for setting and context. But the adventures underground, in abandoned and restricted buildings, etc., are disappointingly small parts of the book.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Excellent for the first 100 pages, and then a bit tiresome 26 Jun. 2013
By CTR - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is fun to read. I did actually finish the book, which is saying something. (I usually put down stuff that isn't working for me.) The narration is strong, and you get a sense of joining a cool subculture of interesting people. I was most interested when he was going places that I have not gone and will not go myself (the Notre Dame tower story is reason enough to buy they book).

Still, at some point, about halfway through the book, it starts to get a little bit tiresome. He ran out of truly cool places, or at least ran out of interesting observations about those cool places. Then he starts fluffing, copy-and-pasting from his personal journal. We get a random story involving a hot chick, a road trip, and a crap in a nasty bathroom. (Thanks, but I have my own stories about hot chicks, road trips, and nasty craps.)

I would have preferred the author to leverage his urban planning degree, intelligence, and some research to overlay a smarter perspective to his discoveries. There is some of that -- about how cities evolve, and what sort of density is optimal, a few observations about ancient Rome gleaned from seeing ruins -- but just then the book diverges into talk about another adventure drunkenly, cross-dressingly, walking through another South American city -- not underground, not across rooftops, just walking through the city. (I've got my own stories about that sort of thing too.)

At one point the book even starts to meditate on the pointlessness and immaturity involved in these sorts of adventures. We see the author himself growing out of these exploits. I definitely got that point, suffering along with him mired in the pointlessness. Rather than solving (dare I say 'transcending') that problem, the book just succumbs to it. In that way, the book is like a production of Waiting for Godot. The audience suffers through the pointlessness to make the point of pointlessness. (My theatre friend tells me that excellent productions of Waiting avoid that problem. I guess I'm still waiting to see that production.)

I'm being grumpy (and pedantic) here, but overall the book is worth buying. Its a fun, quick read. When it seems pointless or trivial, just turn the pages a little faster. And maybe someone that hasn't yet had enough drunken wandering through cities in his own life, can enjoy some of that vicariously too.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
People do strange things for fun 28 May 2013
By Kindle Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Boy did I learn a lot about a different type of travel. What people do for fun is so much different than I ever imagined. But it is not the "strangeness" of the adventure, but the things you learn. The author presents the adventure and also history and background information which keeps you reading along. If you trave,l and even if you don't, this book takes you to places I bet you would never consider going.
5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Not a particularly sympathetic protagonist 5 Jun. 2013
By MM Cooper - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I read this book because I've spent a lot of time beneath Paris, and was hoping to get some new information and perspective. Disappointed. The writer mostly surfs on what's a minor trend nowadays, Urban Exploration. His brand of discovery is more superficial, like notching up tourist pictures in front of tired monuments. And he is, in fact, a glorified tour guide. The subject is interesting, but his account reads like an exploitation piece. The writer constantly reminds us of his insincerity ... and his lack of emotional intelligence. Doesn't have a very compelling purpose in visiting these "hidden" slash "forbidden" places, which are not, by the way, either hidden or inaccessible.
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