Paper, 244 pp., $17.95
In this book, Mary Soderstrom looks at eleven cities around the world from different periods, to see how people and nature have interacted over the course of history. She suggests in the introduction that urban landscapes constitute a paradox, offering people the opportunity to shape their surroundings, but sacrificing nature along the way. The author describes such varying cities as Babylon; Irvine, California; Hamilton, Ontario; Singapore; Tanga, Tanzania; Shanghai, China; and Kochi, India, providing an intriguing approach.
The author has researched her subject very thoroughly. The bibliography is well documented. Soderstrom writes creatively, maintaining interest thanks to her unusual choice of cities. She encourages individuals to get involved in political processes so that government agencies and bureaucracies will be proactive in saving the environment. The conclusion she comes to — that the environmental crisis threatens to overcome us – is both obvious and, unfortunately, valid.
— Bluma Kaplan, volunteer, Chicago Botanic Garden