I just read “5 Cities that Ruled the World” by Douglas Wilson. It is the first book of the author’s that I have reviewed, and the first book of this type that I have reviewed. It was easily read, and might be a good companion to a more rigid book of history.
The five cities discussed are Jerusalem, Athens, Rome, London, and New York. The author offers a narrative and selective history of each city’s legacy to the modern world. From the text (notwithstanding the author’s comments) my understanding is that the legacies are as follows: Jerusalem – a legacy of the heart; Athens – the legacy of reason; Rome – the legacy of the Republic and the Papacy; London – the legacy of literature; New York – the legacy of wealth.
The book ends with an epilogue that is best to be avoided. It appears to belong to an entirely different book, and it rambles around various ideas that the author might have been well served to include in the text for each city.
My only argument with the author’s occasional bold statements is that he insists the United States is an empire. It is not, it has never been, and it has no designs of ever becoming an empire. Economic and cultural influence is not the same as empire.