A tour of ‘Four Lost Cities’ reveals modern ties to ancient people

Four Lost Cities
Annalee Newitz
W.W. Norton & Co., $26.95

It’s a familiar trope in movies and books: A bright-eyed protagonist moves to the big city in search of fame and fortune. Amid the bustle and lights, all hopes and dreams come true. But why do we cling to this cliché? In Four Lost Cities: A Secret History of the Urban Age, author Annalee Newitz explores ancient settlements to find out why people flock to big cities — and why they leave.  

The book is divided into four enjoyable, snack-sized sections, one for each city. Each section is accompanied by a handy map, drawn by artist Jason Thompson with

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