THE RANDOM HOUSE BOOK OF HOW THINGS WERE BUILT by David J. Brown

THE RANDOM HOUSE BOOK OF HOW THINGS WERE BUILT

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Spanning several centuries and continents, a sweeping compendium of famous structures and the methods used in their construction. Though visually striking, the book is marred by poor labeling and some very confusing illustrations by a miscellany of artists: the drawings for the step pyramid don't show the stages described in the text; the crane on the Pharos lighthouse is braced so that it's liable to fall on the windlass; a pile driver in early Amsterdam has feet at right angles to its top, with a decidedly Escher-like result; adding bracing to the groin in Durham Cathedral is described as a ""structural breakthrough,"" but it's necessary to puzzle through definitions for ""groin"" and ""vault"" in the glossary and then flip back to the illustration to understand what might be meant; the drawing showing how suspension cables were spun for the Golden Gate Bridge is largely inscrutable; etc., etc. As a history of building styles, this has some use, as does the extensive glossary of building terms; but when it comes to explaining How Things Were Built, it confuses as often as it explains. Oddly inconsistent index. Pity, really.

Pub Date: March 10th, 1992
Page count: 140pp
Publisher: Random House