book report: 5 Cities that Shaped the World by Douglas Wilson

I received this complimentary copy from Thomas Nelson for my review. Douglas Wilson is a very smart guy, in fact, he and Christopher Hitchens took their atheism debate on the road and made a documentary about it called Collision. When I saw a new book of his out, 5 Cities that Ruled the World, I looked forward to reading it. But it wasn't what I expected. He enjoys sharing vignettes from the histories of Jerusalem, Athens, Rome, London, and New York, and, with the exception of New York, how Christianity affected and was affected by the cultures of those cities. The New York outlier makes this book read more like a collection of essays than a coherent whole. None of the essays follow a common pattern, in regards to what makes each city a ruler of the world. None of the essays make an argument for the superiority of each city over it's contemporary pretenders. The assertions he includes offer a curious distraction to what he leaves out. I don't find it helpful for him to assume the American adventures of the ancient Phoenicians, nor his knowledge of the actual identity of William Shakespeare. If read as a collection of essays without expectation of a unified argument from Wilson, then the book is easier to appreciate.


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