- Five Cities that Ruled the World: How Jerusalem, Athens, Rome, London, and New York Shaped Global History © 2009
- Thomas Nelson
- xx+236 pages
This book is a rare find: a history that’s interesting to read. Wilson stands in the company of Thomas Cahill in his ability to make centuries of history read like a gripping plot.
The book’s title is self-explanatory. Wilson surveyed the history of five major cities, with particular attention given to the major innovation each one offered the world: Jerusalem’s spiritual freedom, Athens’ democratic ideal, Rome’s wrestling with law and justice, London’s literary prowess, and New York’s free-enterprise spirit.
Although Wilson’s field of expertise is Christian theology, he seems equally adept discussing the battle of Salamis as he is the history of Second Temple Judaism. It’s important to note that his worldview is thoroughly Christian. The epilogue explains the marriage of the city of God with the city of man in the incarnation.
My only qualm about this book is its Western bias. It could be more aptly titled “5 cities that ruled the West” since Jerusalem is the only semi-eastern city on the list. Mumbai, Honk Kong, Muscow, and Tokyo have also made a solid mark on the world.
That said, it’s an excellent survey of the history of Western Civilization as represented in five major cities. Enjoy!
Disclaimer: I received this book as a member of Thomas Nelson’s Book Review Blogger program.