Books: City That Never Was

THE YEARS OF THE CITY (567 pp.)—George R. Stewart—Houghton Mifflin ($4.50).

At the founding of Phrax, the soothsayer predicted that the city would live through more than nine human generations. As soothsayers go, he was pretty accurate: it lived some 200 years before enemies stormed it and set it afire. By then, decayed old Phrax, the vigor of its youth and the wealth of its maturity gone, was ripe for death.

The chronicler of Phrax's growth, greatness, decline and fall is both a professor (English, University of California) and a novelist (Storm, Fire), and his chronicle is a work of scholarship as well...

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