Tuesday, November 16, 2010

"5 Cities that Ruled the World": A Book Review

“5 Cities that Ruled the World: How Jerusalem, Athens, Rome, London, and New York shaped Global History” by Douglas Wilson briefly examines the history of these cities. Mr. Wilson presents the significance of each city on world history in general and the city’s impact on the West in particular.  Mr. Wilson approaches the history from the perspective of a Christian, noting the hand of God in the rise (and fall) of these metropolitan areas.

At the outset I must confess I struggled reading this book. The Introduction grabbed my attention and I was ready to charge into the meat of the work. But something happened when I entered the first chapter on the city of Jerusalem. I felt like I was trying to walk from one side of a swimming pool to another in four feet of water. It was a very, very, slow read.

As a result, I put the book aside not for a few hours or a few days but for several months. Something inside of me did not want to pick it back up and read another word. But, I finally did and I am grateful I pressed forward. After a few more difficult pages in the Jerusalem chapter, suddenly the book seemed to open up and my reading pace picked up speed. The more I read, the more I wanted to read. I completed the book in only a matter of days.

I’m not sure why I struggled with the early part of the work but overall I found Mr. Wilson’s book enjoyable, informative, and even inspirational. The book contains 236 pages and 14 of them are footnotes. When you read the book, do not skip the footnotes. They contain wealth of information as well.

“5 Cities that Ruled the World” is an interesting work and I encourage you to pick it up and press on when you feel as though you cannot read another word. Your diligence will be well rewarded.

I want to thank Thomas Nelson for providing a copy of this book for review. No other compensation was provided.