Serious. closely argued attempt to produce a unified view of city and country, rather than taking them as two unalterable opposites. Bookchin puts forward the notion that cities in themselves aren't bad; they are necessary economic centers. Instead of useless hostility toward urbanization, he says, thinkers might simply address some of the worst excesses of city life. To bolster his arguments, Bookchin casually introduces a great deal of social, economic, and political history, impressing the reader with his erudition and willingness lo cite some less familiar authorities. Many distinguished names pop up, from Sophocles and Friedrich Engels to a historian appetizingly named Mooseburger. However. despite the candid tendency of the book to popularize its arguments, it is probably destined to be read mainly by specialists. Simply because Bookchin talks of so many different phenomena, in a brief space, the effect becomes dizzying: it is easy to lose the thread of his arguments as he leaps from century to century and across continents in the space of a single page. Yet for those who can keep up with him, there is much interest in the present book. Bookchin's ""New Municipal Agenda"" is drawn from his extensive knowledge of the past, including the many ideal urban centers of days gone by. He apparently believes that these golden ages are not gone forever, which adds an optimistic flavor here that is most welcome. Surely few urban historians can be called optimists; for filling this role, Bookchin has performed a worthy service.