Bryan Appleyard

Going To Town

Triumph of the City: How Our Greatest Invention Makes Us Richer, Smarter, Greener, Healthier and Happier


Macmillan 336pp £25 order from our bookshop

After the Portuguese arrived in 1543, the xenophobic Japanese restricted foreigners to the city of Nagasaki. The Portuguese were eventually kicked out for meddling in politics and religion and were replaced by the Dutch; but they, too, were penned up in the city. For 300 years Western technology flowed in through this one port and the smartest people in Japan travelled there to encounter Europe’s finest. Nagasaki, says Harvard economist Edward Glaeser, was the foundation of Japan’s greatness.

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • Tarantino's latest film is 'a fairy tale about Hollywood, where fantasy is an industrial product and the boulevards… ,
    • 'I don’t think we’re here on Earth to be Happy. I think we’re here on Earth to help God. I am a messianic writer'.… ,
    • 'Darley’s book is not a mad dash through this most compelling and complex of English counties. Nor is it another ti… ,
    • 'Moser’s book offers such a gripping account of a profoundly damaged human being, trapped in a cycle of repetition,… ,
    • 'Ideas that I’d thought were set down in full continue to smoulder ... this book is only a snapshot of some larger… ,
    • 'Full of invention which, at its most pedestrian, is eminently Victorian, and at its most unrestrained wildly imagi… ,
    • 'What in other hands could have been a dry, pedantic account of Christianity’s birth and evolution becomes in Holla… ,