Urban Society in European and American Thought, 1820-1940
By Andrew Lees
Although the social and economic aspects of modern urbanization are readily apparent, the impact of city growth on ideas and attitudes rarely receives the attention it deserves. In Cities Perceived, Andrew Lees fills this research gap by examining a number of trends including the cultural assimilation of European and American urbanization in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries and the common view on the effects of rural and urban migration during the Industrial Revolution. He additionally analyzes the variances among the perceptions of urban life based on decade, country, occupation, and social group. Lees also offers insight on how urban problems both stem from and stimulate the efforts that are intended to address them.
Drawing from a wide range of sources, Lees illuminates the complex fears and enthusiasms aroused by the rapid growth of cities in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. A comparative framework encompasses developments in America as well as in Britain, France, and Germany, in addition to evidence of ambivalent as well as strongly positive attitudes toward urbanization that complement the more familiar theme of hostility common in previous writing.
Cities Perceived is a scholarly overview of one of the fundamental transfor-mations of the age. This groundbreaking work on social and cultural history is essential reading for urban historians and students of literature and sociology.
Andrew Lees has been a member of the Rutgers-Camden faculty since 1974. He teaches broadly in the areas of European and comparative European/American history.