Extreme Cities (2017) is one of four books about cities reviewed in April 18, 2018 New York Times article

An April 18, 2018 New York Times article is entitled: “Four Books Explore Various Aspects of Cities Past and Present.”

Among the books is Extreme Cities: The Peril and Promise of Urban Life in the Age of Climate Change (2017), which I have referred to at a previous post entitled:

I became interested in The Water Will Come (2017) after I heard (anecdotally speaking) that Miami real estate agents are decrying the talk of disappearing coastlines

My own sense, as I began to read the book, was that it frames climate change within an ideological perspective that, as it happens, does not appeal to me – for reasons that are evident at other posts at this website. I also had the sense, however, that the facts, corroborated by evidence from a wide range of sources, that are presented in the book are of much interest. My sense was that the facts are worth looking at closely, in particular when separated from the framing that the author prefers to engage in.

At this post, I share excerpts from two of the range of review, that are available, regarding this book.

New York Times review of Extreme Cities (2017)

An excerpt from the above-noted New York Times article reads:

“Extreme Cities” examines the intersection of climate change and urbanization, and some of the challenges and contradictions involved. Dawson seems to be inspired by quasi-anarchist movements like Occupy Sandy. Yet to carry out the kinds of transformations he envisions, like the expropriation of fossil fuel assets, would require a very powerful government, even though he himself argues that moneyed interests have captured the state.


I’m pleased I came across this review.

Kirkus review of Extreme Cities (2017)

An excerpt from a Kirkus review of Extreme Cities (2017) reads:

While based in solid research, the conclusions Dawson draws are often so hypercritical and contentious that they might become unconvincing. The book is a call for a revolutionary shift, not just regarding the structure and function of cities, but also requiring a massive overhaul of economic, governmental, and social structures around the world. Dawson argues that our current capitalistic societies must be dismantled in order to make way for a more equitable future in which environmental conditions become increasingly unstable.

A tough read that will mostly appeal to critics of neoliberalism, but also a substantive contribution to the growing dialogue about our response – or lack thereof – to climate change.


That’s a good overview of the book.


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