Yi-Fu Tuan book offers an erudite meditation upon our yearning for both a safe place to call home and an exciting milieu where we can stretch our imagination. The author, who teaches geography at the University of Wisconsin, articulates the charms of the hearth which include stability, warmth, and intimacy. He also lionizes the challenges of cosmopolitan living which is propelled by speed, change, and diversity.

Yi-Fu Tuan gives us glimpses of both in his scholarly assessments of Chinese culture and American multiculturalism. In the end, the author opts for the best of both worlds — a sort of "cosmopolitan hearth" where nurturing goes hand-in-hand with a love for "the splendor and plenitude of life."