'Hidden Cities' by Moses Gates

By Jessie Patken,
Travels to the Secret Corners of the World's Great Metropolises; A Memoir of Urban Exploration
Author Rating: 
4.0 Stars - Very Good

Moses Gates’s Hidden Cities is a thrilling romp through the underworlds (and sometimes the highest heights) of cities we think we know. From the first sentence, he has the reader in his grip. Gates leads the reader into dark subway tunnels, navigates labyrinthian catacombs, scales towering historical landmarks, and splashes through ancient sewers. It is truly an adventure, but along the way readers are also treated to fascinating history lessons and, perhaps just as interestingly, a glimpse into the author’s personal life. Gates’s digressions provide context as to why anyone would do the things he does and add a richness that his story might otherwise lack.

It’s a fun read, though at times I found myself inwardly giving a schoolmarm-ish tut and shaking my head in disapproval (stepping past “No Entry” signs? Be still, my rule-following heart!). More often, however, I rejoiced to know that somewhere someone, with no harm intended, is exploring worlds that exist just out of reach and of which most of us are utterly unaware. Hidden Cities reminds us that no matter how jaded we may be, the world will always hold something new for those who look.



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