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Architecture of First Societies: A Global Perspective Hardcover – 10 Dec 2013


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This entry–level textbook will suit beginning students and general readers interested in architecture, anthropology, agricuulture, ecology, history and geography.  Summing Up: Recommended.  Lower–level undergraduates and general readers.   (Choice, 1 May 2014)

From the Back Cover

This landmark study traces the beginnings of architecture by looking at the latest archaeological and anthropological research

From the dawn of human society, through early civilizations, to pre–Columbian American societies, Architecture of First Societies traces the different cultural formations that developed in various places throughout the world to form the built environment. It is the first book to explore the beginnings of architecture from a global perspective.

Viewing ancient cultures through a lens of both time and geography, this history of early architecture brings its subjects to life with full–color photographs, maps, and drawings. The author cites the latest discoveries and analyses in archaeology and anthropology and discovers links to the past by examining how indigenous societies build today. "Encounters with Modernity" sections examine some of the political issues that village life and its architectural traditions face in the modern world.

This fascinating and engaging tour of our architectural past:

  • Fills a gap in architectural education concerning early mankind, the emergence of First Society people, and the rise of early agricultural societies
  • Presents the story of early architecture, written by the coauthor of the acclaimed A Global History of Architecture
  • Uses the most current research to develop a global picture of human interaction and migration
  • Features color and black–and–white photos and drawings that show site conditions as well as huts, houses, and other buildings under construction in cultures that still exist today
  • Highlights global relationships with color maps
  • Analyzes topics ranging in scale from landscape and culture to building techniques
  • Helps us come to terms with our own modern approaches to historical conditions and anthropological pasts

Architecture of First Societies is ideal reading for anyone who seeks a deeper understanding of the strong relationships between geography, ecology, culture, and architecture.


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Amazon.com: 10 reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Great overview of how certain civilizations organize and construct their communities and buildings 8 Jan. 2014
By Fry Boy - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Oddly, at 672 pages, this book is too short. The author appears to be quite accomplished in his field of architectural history and planning, with several well-received texts to his credit. This particular volume covers the design and arrangement of--generally speaking--primitive societies, illustrating the "what, why, where and how" of those societies with regard to architecture and its cultural implementation. Civilization by civilization, he builds a case that each society put a lot of thought into architecture and its placement.

There were some societies that intrigued me more because Jarzombek provided details on architectural structure, not just on arrangement. A good example is the Mongols. The illustrations provided show several steps in the construction of a Mongol tent or hut, with the critical component being a hoop (high up, in the middle of the tent) upon which structural ribs are hung (or festooned, if you will). Many of the societies discussed--particularly in the first half of the book--don't have explicit illustrations of an architectural construction, per se, just the layout of their hamlet, village, etc. In the author's defense, though, this is understandable since many first societies (e.g. Druids) haven't left much behind to pick through other than ruins (e.g. Stonehenge).

Certainly a worthy read if you're interested in the architectural intents of the buildings and "city plans" of early cultures.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Amazing! 16 Jan. 2014
By B - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
First off, in case you were wondering, this is indeed a textbook! Don't let that put you off though. The writing is very interesting and in no way "dry." The author seems to be a world-class anthropologist and this book goes into amazing detail! It spans about 5000 years of history and is focused on why/how primitive societies came about, and their architectural styles. It's a mind-boggling amount of information and is an extremely fascinating book!
Truly an Amazing Book that Most Anyone Would Enjoy 4 Jan. 2014
By J. Sullivan - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Many societies have evolved throughout history, and many have been forgotten, but the ancient clues they’ve left behind provide plenty of insight to the ways in which early peoples had lived, and the circumstances by which these societies have evolved to embrace the changes that had come through the need to feed their growing communities, and to protect their families from the elements.

“Architecture of First Societies” is a fascinating book that takes a look at the diverse cultures from an anthropological perspective, which spotlights not only the structures that early man had used for shelter, but also the reasoning behind the growth and evolution of their communities.

One of the most fascinating things about this incredible book, is that each of the many locations that are featured also list geographic coordinates alongside the paragraphs where the location is featured. It is just incredible being able to go into Google Earth, type in the details, and get an overhead view of exactly where the events took place. It is one thing to see gorgeous, close-up photos along with the information, but it is quite another to be able to explore on my own, and understand exactly where these places are in relation to the rest of the world.

I could not imagine recommending this book to readers of any one particular interest, because anyone with a curiosity about the world around us is sure to enjoy the journey of discovery that is “Architecture of First Societies.” This book is an enjoyably informative look into our past, that is fun to read on its own, despite that I can’t help but browse the globe on my computer as I read along. This is easily one of the most fascinating books that I have ever had, and I absolutely love it.
In a class by itself 24 Dec. 2013
By Richard Sutton - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Mark Jarzombek's amazing book is such a stand-alone volume of work, I was amazed and inspired with almost every single page I turned. I write fiction, and the cultures and societies of ancient peoples often figure into my characters. Research for me is almost non-stop, so if I can find a resource that will allow me to eliminate a few more empty alleys, I appreciate it. The book is a large, lavish work and it sets new ground in the very beginning, seeking to overturn to view of architecture and construction as somehow separate disciplines from a given culture's ongoing work. It connects the diverse threads of spiritual significance from within the cukltural perspective, with the structures these various people choose to live in. It is surprising just how interconnected culturally, those of us who inhabit similar weather regions, worldwide, really are. It also establishes a critical perspective that is all-embracing; choosing to view more ancient, closer to the earth societies, with the same kind of respect we give our own. The result is a very readable reference work that connects the structures made by scores of societies through cultural and environmental similarities, all of which work very well for a writer doing research. I would especially enjoy seeing this great book picked up as classroom text as it can only encourage student discussions overflowing into cultural tolerance and understanding. If you have anyone in your family or among your friends who has a related interest, this book will make a lasting, most impressive gift. My only criticism is that the colored areas in many of the charts and maps could be a bit brighter or show more contrast. but that's probably just my old eyes. The book is lavishly illustrated with many unique photographs that for me were inspirations in themselves. I expect some new ideas to come directly from my time with this great book..
a holistic approach to architecture of first societies 10 Jan. 2014
By Patrick Regan - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Architecture of First Societies does more than just present the architecture of first societies. The author includes information on the environment, society and cultures that influenced the resulting architecture of those first societies. In addition to being useful for presenting the motivation of these examples of early architecture, the presentation, which includes, way of life, frequently depicted with color photographs of people who carry on some of these ways of life today, color photographs of modern day versions of the architecture, color photographs of archeological diggings of historic architecture and, finally, color photographs of the environment that the various peoples lived in with notes on climate changes that have occurred since then. Finally, the presentation includes architectural drawings, especially overhead drawings of the layout of whole villages and houses. For me, this had the effect of placing me in the context of what the author was describing. The only drawback was that, due to the large amount of extra material, there were not as many architectural drawings as I might have liked. For example, it would have been nice to see step by step plans for how these buildings and enclosures were designed. Although this book is very expensive, if you are interested in architecture, this would be a good book to purchase and pore through, there is much here to enjoy.
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