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Maximum City is the biography of New York City. It has an exact purpose: to use the past to understand how New York came to be New York, and what we must do about it. It is the story of how the myth of New York was built, and how it shapes the way we see the city still. It tells the history that lies behind each of the headline assumptions about the city - corruption, excess, danger and glory, in a city supposed to be somehow unAmerican. It sometimes celebrates the myth and sometimes contradicts it, but always asking why - why New York is the city of the high society circus, why travellers have always been warned about the danger on its streets, why the city needs graft and why sexuality was always so important to the politics of the libertine city. Through the voices of the past and present, Maximum City celebrates the extreme cae of cities - trying also to understand what kind of phenomenon it is. [via]