Lover of the Fancy

Early C20th American culture and dissent

The City in History
Lewis Mumford


The city’s development from ancient times to the modern age. Winner of the National Book Award.

Mumford argues for a world not in which technology rules, but rather in which it achieves a balance with nature. His ideal vision is what can be described as an “organic city,” where culture is not usurped by technological innovation but rather thrives with it. Mumford contrasts these cities with those constructed around wars, tyrants, poverty, etc. However, the book is not an attack on the city, but rather an evaluation of its growth, how it came to be, and where it is heading, as evidenced by the final chapter ‘Retrospect and Prospect’.

Paperback, 784pp
Mariner Books, 1968 (1961)
ISBN 9780156180351


1. Sanctuary, Village, and Stronghold
2. The Crystallization of the City
3. Ancestral Forms and Patterns
4. The Nature of the Ancient City
5. Emergence of the Polis
6. Citizen Versus Ideal City
7. Hellenistic Absolutism and Urbanity
8. Megalopolis into Necropolis
9. Cloister and Community
10. Medieval Urban Housekeeping
11. Medieval Disruptions, Modern Anticipations
12. The Structure of Baroque Power
13. Court, Parade, and Capital
14. Commercing Expansion and Urban Dissolution
15. Paleotechnic Paradise: Coketown
16. Suburbia – And Beyond
17. The Myth of Megalopolis
18. Retrospect and Prospect