The author, winner of the 1963 Pulitzer Prize for her Washington, Village and Capital, 1866-1878, is an excellent historian. Here her subject is nothing less than the growth and development of American cities from colonial times to the present decade. Inasmuch as it is the story of the spread of industrialization, transportation and communications, the story of urbanization, is American history. The author writes with warmth and wit about the political, economic and sociological factors; the impact of city life upon the arts, upon our ways of seeing ourselves and the world about us, and upon the modes of daily existence. The final chapters--""Effects of the New Deal and War"" and ""The Population Explosion and a Changing Urban World""-- analyze the crucial contemporary problems of race relations, automation, the rise of suburbia and the megalopolis with incisive brevity. While the perspective is not new, this material has been marshalled succinctly.