n 1703, Peter the Great founded his eponymous capital on a Baltic marsh. Modelled on Amsterdam, he believed it would usher in a modernised, Westernised future. In the nineteenth-century Age of Imperialism, the British rebuilt Bombay as a tropical London, while three Western powers made Shanghai look just like home. In our time, the sheikh of Dubai has transformed his desert city into a skyscraper-studded global hub. The cultural and historical threads that connect these cities and their conflicted embrace of modernity are brought into relief in Daniel Brook's captivating mix of history and reportage - a story of architects and authoritarians, artists and revolutionaries who take these facsimiles of the West and turn them into crucibles of non-Western modernism. A History of Future Cities is both a crucial reminder of globalisation's long march and an inspiring look into the possibilities of our Asian Century.