From the Ground Up

The From the Ground Up series offers a fresh perspective on centuries of growth and change in cities, drawn from buildings and ruins, squares and waterways, and works of art. Each chapter, accompanied by maps and illustrations, doubles as both narrative history and itinerary for travelers.

Below is a list of in-print works in this collection, presented in series order or publication order as applicable.

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Cover: Rome from the Ground Up

Rome from the Ground Up

McGregor, James H. S.

Rome is not one city but many, each with its own history unfolding from a different center. Beginning with the shaping of the ground on which Rome first rose, this book conjures all these cities, conducting the reader through time and space to the complex and shifting realities—architectural, historical, political, and social—that constitute Rome.

Cover: Venice from the Ground Up

Venice from the Ground Up

McGregor, James H. S.

Venice emerged on mudflats at the edge of the habitable world. Protected in a tidal estuary from invaders and Byzantine overlords, the fishermen and traders who settled there crafted a way of life unique in the Roman Empire. McGregor recreates this world, with its waterways rather than roads and its livelihood harvested from the sea.

Cover: Paris from the Ground Up

Paris from the Ground Up

McGregor, James H. S.

There is a Paris for the medievalist, and another for the modernist—a Paris for expatriates, philosophers, artists, romantics, and revolutionaries. McGregor brings these perspectives into focus throughout this concise, unique history. Color maps and identifying illustrations make the city accessible to visitors by foot, Metro, or riverboat.

Degenerations of Democracy, by Craig Calhoun, Dilip Parameshwar Gaonkar, and Charles Taylor, from Harvard University Press

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From Our Blog

Jacket: A Brief History of Equality, by Thomas Piketty, from Harvard University Press

Five Reasons Why You Should Read Thomas Piketty’s A Brief History of Equality

In his surprising and powerful new work, A Brief History of Equality, Thomas Piketty reminds us that the grand sweep of history gives us reasons to be optimistic. Over the centuries, he shows, we have been moving toward greater equality. We asked him about his impassioned new book: why he wrote it, how it’s optimistic, and what we need to do to continue making progress on creating an equitable world.