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Cathedral: the Story of Its Construction Hardcover – 19 Sep 1973

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Hardcover, 19 Sep 1973
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 77 pages
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin (Trade); Houghto Orifflin edition (19 Sept. 1973)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0395175135
  • ISBN-13: 978-0395175132
  • Product Dimensions: 22.9 x 1.5 x 30.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,148,378 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Text and detailed drawings follow the planning and construction of a magnificent Gothic cathedral in the imaginary French town of Chutreaux during the thirteenth century.

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For hundreds of years the people of Europe were taught by the church that God was the most important force in their lives. Read the first page
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Roger S. Twigg on 3 Aug. 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is of interest to anyone who has an interest in "How it was done". It will be a useful tool for all cathedral guides and leaders of school parties to our cathedrals. The book solves a lot of the mystery of medieval building work.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Very sound in content; writen and drawn by someone who must have some hands-on experience in the building trades. A delight for old and young.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 61 reviews
50 of 52 people found the following review helpful
A wonderful introduction to architecture and the Middle Ages 9 Jan. 2004
By JLind555 - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Having just finished a great book called "Great Cathedrals", filled with 400 pages of jaw-dropping photographs, I kept wondering how in the world they could have built such marvelous edifices with rudimentary implements over 800 years ago. David Macaulay's "Cathedral" is a book ostensibly written for children but which will fascinate readers of all ages. In scarcely 80 pages, Macaulay takes us back in time to the year 1252 in the fictional French village of Chutreaux where the people decide to build the "longest, widest, highest and most beautiful cathedral in all of France" for the glory of God. Macaulay's text is minimal, but his exquisite black and white line drawings say it all: the step-by-step stages in the building's construction, the craftsmen and the tools they used, and the dedication that kept this project going for 80 years until its completion. We feel a sense of awe at the dedication of the original architects and craftsmen and builders who knew that they would be long dead before the cathedral was finally finished. Macaulay's glossary at the end of the book helps us to understand the major elements of the Gothic cathedral, and his cross-sections and diagrams provide clear illustration of just how the cathedral rose from its foundations. At the end of this volume, we share the awe and pride the townspeople felt at having shared a goal for over 80 years and making it a reality. Macaulay's "Cathedral" is a marvelous creation in more ways than one.
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
Excellent introduction to cathedral research 23 Oct. 1998
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Paperback
Pyramids, temples, castles, cathedrals - humanity built like giants in olden days. We ponder these structures in photographs, gape at them as tourists. How could such mighty edifices have been erected during eras lacking bulldozers and derricks?
This book answers the question so far as a cathedral is concerned. (What distinguishes a cathedral from other churches is that a bishop regularly performs rites there. Cathedrals built during medieval times tended toward monumental design; however, huge size is not a universal characteristic of cathedrals. Some are smaller than parish churches. The difference in size depended on the economic prosperity of the community paying for the construction.) An army of workers toiled nearly a century to build this Christian edifice. Stone, glass, timbers and lead were shaped and fitted together in an towering assembly.
No photograph of say, Notre Dame or Rheims, could capture the skill and toil involved in the building of these cathedrals. They are a fait accompli, magnificent but finished. Cities today do not construct churches on such a scale; the cost would be astronomical. Portraying past methods must be hypothetical. A researcher has to harvest old records, drawings, testimonies penned by long dead writers, and from all project the artisans, tools, and techniques as an imaginary cathedral in an imaginary city in France. Nearly every page in CATHEDRAL displays a pen and ink drawing of each stage in the construction. The type of Christian church focused on is the gothic, distinguished by its overall crucifix shape, bell towers, spires, gargoyles, and flying buttresses.
The size of CATHEDRAL - 9 by 12 inches - the profuse drawings, the unembellished prose, imply this is a book aimed at the high school and junior high level. A thin book (80) readings pages, one ought to read it in an hour without strain. To say this much and no more suggests CATHEDRAL does not merit older readers. A curious adult would find this book interesting as well as informative. It gives the reader insight into what is perhaps the greatest engineering feat of the middle ages, an undertaking so immense that a boy at its commencement would die of old age before the cathedral's doors opened to its first congregation.
17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
not only for children 28 July 2003
By Rafael L Medina - Published on
Format: Paperback
It is indeed a book that can be read easily in a couple of hours. However, if you read "between the drawings", if I may say so, you will discover a very deep knowledge of structural design. In fact, I had the chance to read first John Fitchen's The Construction of Gothic Cathedrals, and I can assure that I enjoyed Mr. Macaulay's work much more. Perhaps "Cathedral. The Story of Its Construction" falls short in words and should have been beefed up with more text. Still, I recommend this book. It is hard to find another book with drawings so detailed showing perhaps the most accurate construction means used by the medieval builders, from the very beginning of the construction of these espiritual and community gothic buildings to the end.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
A fascinating way to learn more about architecture 18 Nov. 2002
By Christopher Ingalls - Published on
Format: Paperback
I began reading David Macaulay's books when I was about eight or nine years old. But his style is so addictive, it's really ideal for all ages. In addition to "Cathedral," he has similar books entitled "Castle," "Pyramid," "City" and more.
"Cathedral" introduces a fictional 12th century French village named Chutreaux, whose church was destroyed when it was struck by lightning. The citizens decide to have a new one built, which will be the largest, tallest and widest in the world. And this is where the story begins.
Like Macaulay's other books, it describes in great detail the process involved in the planning and construction of such a structure. In addition to the informative, entertaining text, nearly every page is filled with massive, detailed illustrations. Although the town and cathedral of Chutreaux is fictional, it is typical of its respective time.
Reading this book, you will find yourself immersed in the lives of Chutreaux's citizens, not to mention trying to grasp the enormity of the construction project (since it takes nearly a century to complete, those who started the project will not live to see it finished).
All of Macaulay's books in this series are fascinating. But this is my favorite.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Blue Prints for History 3 Feb. 2002
By Fiona - Published on
Format: Paperback
MacAuley clearly loves his subject and attends to fine details that provide a landscape for studies of medieval Europe. The complexity of the society that chose such grand architecture is revealed in drawings that engage child and adult in a reading partnership. The ingenuity of the engineer, the courage of the workers on the perilous stage of religious expression, the minuatae of life in the period, all combine in an extraordinarily respectful book. Respect is accorded to the original workers, and to you dear reader as MacAulay permits you to claim your own ignorance and delight you with marvels and wonders. "City" and "Castle" make companion volumes of the highest order.
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