Sadly (but promotionally!) hidden behind a paywall, but Tim Flannery‘s piece on Cities "The First Mean Streets" in a March NYRB is intriguing. Playing off two books against one another the piece effectively shifts this reader’s perception of early cities from post agricultural mercantile and social aggregations to maintaining something potentially more sinister. Were residents citizens or serfs? Were the walls to keep out, or keep in?
Further intriguing thoughts on how parlous the first cities were, what the options available to individuals may have been, etc.