I skipped over this book a few times because I mistakenly thought that it was a text book for professional city planners, but I'm really glad that I finally decided to give it a read. It is an absolutely fascinating discussion that takes the beautiful and unique layout of Savannah and places it in the context of the Enlightenment political philosophy of the early 1700's from which it was born.
My grade school history classes dismissed Oglethorpe's plan as a crazy utopian experiment that quickly failed and was not worthy of discussion. But it is worth discussing. Although the colony was overrun in the short term with the slavery based system of it's northern neighbors, this author argues that the long term arc of history, in many ways, has favored Oglethorpe. His experiment had an impact on the thinking of slavery abolitionists in London, who in turn influenced slavery abolitionists in the United States. Embedded within his plan are a variety of other ideas that also have long term social value, including the unique ward design of the city itself. The book provided me with an entirely new perspective on the city of Savannah, on the history of Georgia, and on the philosophers of the Enlightenment.