Is this definitely worth a read? Amazon.co.uk seem to have it for a penny (plus P&P) via other sellers, which seems a pretty good deal to me for 300 pages... -- GrahamLally
For a penny? Absolutely!! I'd probably recommend for any price up to about 8 quid. :-)
Seriously, I enjoyed this book very much, because I like Morgan's style (informal, chatty, ironic), and it was one of the first books on urbanism I'd read.
On the hand, it's not an "expert" work. Read it for insightful annecdotes rather than scientific research. (Although it covers a lot of history and urban theory). If you plan to restrict yourself to reading just one book on urbanism, then I suspect JaneJacobs (who I still haven't read yet) or ChristopherAlexander is a better bet. (Morgan draws quite a bit on Jacobs) OTOH, this is as good an intro as any. And may get you hooked on the subject. It's also very 70s. Some of the trends she describes have gone into reverse since then. But not the increasing urban population.
Page 116 : suggests the resurgence of cities in medieval Europe (ie. urge towards producing surplus) came from religion, demand for building cathedrals. In turn enabled by taking advantage of increased productivity from invention of horse-drawn plough and advanced waterwheels.
See also :