Latest Issue

The benefits of congestion

An awesomely erudite book about cities, including his home-town of Memphis, Tennessee

Cities in civilisation, a survey of urban cultural centres across 2,500 years of history, includes a long chapter on the glory that was Memphis-Tennessee, not Egypt. As a native of the Bluff City, I was taken aback by the author’s understanding of how a particular community segregated by race and class, could give rise to a unique amalgam of black and white musical traditions-the blues and country. Led by BB King, Elvis Presley and Jerry Lee Lewis, by Sam Phillips’s Sun Records and by Beale Street (which, Peter Hall writes, had “more whorehouses per square mile than anywhere in America…

Register today to continue reading

You’ve hit your limit of three articles in the last 30 days. To get seven more, simply enter your email address below.

You’ll also receive our free e-book Prospect’s Top Thinkers 2020 and our newsletter with the best new writing on politics, economics, literature and the arts.

Prospect may process your personal information for our legitimate business purposes, to provide you with newsletters, subscription offers and other relevant information.

Click here to learn more about these purposes and how we use your data. You will be able to opt-out of further contact on the next page and in all our communications.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to

More From Prospect