Book Review:Castles

The title of this book is Castles and the sub-title is "A history of Fortified Structures Ancient, Medieval & Modern". And this sub-title is really telling. It gives a great idea of what the book really zeroes in on, The fortresses of the world and how they developed and changed over the centuries.

Now, I am a really big fan of castles and fortresses. You probalby figured that out seeing as I have a website devoted to them. And castles are often misunderstood. We think about them as being these lavish living abodes for kings and queens. Much like the beautiful Neuschwanstein castle. But... the real truth is that they were enormous fortresses that were for protecting the lives of peope. They were very big, very strong and very brilliantly designed.

And this books shows it all. It shows you how these fortresses developed and improved over the centuries and it shows you how different countries developed very different styles of castles. I love this book and if you are a fan of castles you will love it too.

The picture here is an illuminated manuscript of Château de Mehun-sur-Yèvre





It is available on here:


Castles: A History of Fortified Structures: Ancient, Medieval & Modern

While the word "castle" conjures up an image of the classic medieval stone edifice, resplendent with towers and turrets, battlements and barbicans, and the odd oubliette, the impulse to build defensive works is as old as civilization itself; and the evolution of such architecture not only encompasses global cultures but is also a physical expression of the changing face of military tactics and technology.

Castles takes a uniquely architectural approach to deconstructing all forms of fortification, showing how the work of architect, stonemason, and engineer evolved to repel the increasingly destructive power of an attack, from siege engine to artillery. While the medieval castle is analyzed in detail, the book addresses a broad chronology of defenses -from the earliest fortresses and walled cities of the ancient world through to the point in the 19th century when modern weapons forced armies underground. Castles uses stylish two-tone engravings to dissect a wealth of examples from both western and eastern cultures; "anatomies" that annotate the classic structures for both their architectural and military significance; and "Then and Now" features that offer unique comparisons between castles in their pomp as depicted in illuminated manuscripts, mosaics, maps, and paintings, and matching color photographs of those same castles as they appear today. This architectural review of soaring towers and redoubtable walls provides both a fascinating narrative and an essential visual reference for the general and military historian.


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