New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles -- for all their differences, they are quintessentially American cities. They are also among the handful of cities on the earth that can be called "global." Janet L. Abu-Lughod's book is the first to compare them in an ambitious in-depth study that takes into account each city's unique history, following their development from their earliest days to their current status as players on the global stage.
Unlike most other global cities, New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles all quickly grew from the nearly blank slate of the American landscape to become important beyond the nation's borders early in their histories. As a result, Abu-Lughod is able to show the overall effect of globalization on each city's development. While all three are critical to global economics and the spread of American culture to the farthest reaches of an increasingly interlinked world, their influence reflects their individual histories and personalities. In a masterful synthesis of historical and economic information, Abu-Lughod clarifies how each city's global role is -- and will be -- affected by geography, ethnicity of population, political institutions, and tradition of governance.
New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles are more than global players: they are also home to forty million people. Abu-Lughod closes the book with a set of vignettes that captures the cities' differences as perceived by one who has lived in them. Bringing together the local and the global in thoroughly unexpected and enlightening ways, this important volume offers fascinating insight into these vital urban centers.