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Kevin McCloud's Grand Tour of Europe [Hardcover]

Kevin McCloud
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
RRP: £25.00
Price: £19.75 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

21 Sep 2009
Loosely following in the footsteps of the most notorious grand tourists Kevin clambers in, on and amongst the greatest buildings, ruins and cities in Europe and also veers drastically off the official path to visit the brothels, bathhouses and drinking dens which formed the other half of the grand tourists' experiences. This accumulation of sights sounds and smells allows a sense of what it must have been like for a callow Briton to have come face to face with the heat and the noise, the drama and still living history of the civilisations of Europe. As always, Kevin, who speaks French and Italian fluently, is an entertaining and masterly companion as we delve behind the facades we all think we know so well.

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Kevin McCloud's Grand Tour of Europe + The Best of Grand Designs + Kevin McCloud's Principles of Home: Making a Place to Live
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 216 pages
  • Publisher: W&N (21 Sep 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0297859560
  • ISBN-13: 978-0297859567
  • Product Dimensions: 27.9 x 24.9 x 2.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 334,933 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Kevin McCloud is best known as presenter of Channel 4's BAFTA-nominated 'Grand Designs', now in its tenth series. He writes books and articles about decoration, design, lighting and colour, and is editor-at-large of Grand Designs magazine. In addition, Kevin is a product and lighting designer and has produced ranges of furniture, lighting and tableware for high street names.

Product Description


Kevin McCloud is a good guide and host because he's immensely enthusiastic and knowledgeable about his subject, architecture, and he's completely engaging without being patronising. (RADIO TIMES (TV review))

He is on good form here, setting off on an enjoyable and illuminating four-week excursion (SUNDAY TIMES (TV review))

a breezy architectural travelogue (SCOTLAND ON SUNDAY (TV review))

Hugely entertaining and informed take on the 18th and 19th-century upper-class experiences of Europe and their influence on British culture. (WOMAN & HOME)

Book Description

Kevin McCloud shows us how to experience the highs - and the lows - of a grand tour through France, Germany, Italy, Greece and Turkey.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Valuable Insights Marred by Silly Errors 3 Mar 2010
By Nicholas Casley TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I thoroughly enjoyed Kevin McCloud's four-part television series. (Why is it not available on DVD?) I thought his marrying of certain architects and architectural movements in England with certain buildings and styles in Italy and Greece was an imaginative reworking of the traditional Grand Tour programme; the combination of times and places seemed genuinely here to have historical meaning, reflected in concrete examples found in parks and on high streets throughout the land. I was looking forward to reading the book, therefore, to learn some more. But unlike many books of TV series, this one told me little more.

McCloud is a designer and architect, so this is very much a designer's and architect's Grand Tour. For those with a more artistic bent, wanting to witness the painting and sculpture (as well as the architecture) of the Italian Renaissance, then Brian Sewell's series (on DVD) is to be recommended instead. For those without a focus on the arts but wanting to explore the idea of the Grand Tour, then the books by Jeremy Black or Christopher Hibbert are can be recommended in their different ways.

The book consists of an introduction and twelve chapters that are uneven in length. In his opening sentence, McCloud states immediately that he is no expert on the Grand Tour. Rather than present a basic history, "we took a more cursive and personal route ... [focussing on] four big ideas in the history of Big Ideas." So we have Inigo Jones's introduction to Palladianism; Christopher Wren's "domological detective story"; the marrying of archaeology and design by the Adam family; and the Romantics' rediscovery of Greece and of nature.

The book is co-written with Isabel Allen, but we are not told who she is or what her expertise encompasses.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Kevi Mc Cloud grand Tour of Europe 16 Oct 2009
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This book is well worth buying. The photographs and the whole content of the book make for some excellent reading
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful Coffee Table Book 30 Oct 2009
Kevin McCloud never fails to captivate on the TV screen and with this book he brings that same charm to print. The book basically follows the same format as the TV series giving some extra insight the subject, I couldn't wait to get my hands on it and every visitor to my home cannot resist flicking through it's pages.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Quantity Surveyor's view 17 May 2010
Having found the TV series compelling viewing, this book was quickly added to my Christmas present wishlist. Visually, the photo's are excellent and the whole book is really nicely presented demonstrating exactly the artistic levels architects can achieve at the top of their game. Whilst nowhere near as satisfactory as the Dorling Kindersley book on architecture which covers much of the same ground and more in greater depth, this book takes a broader approach reconciling the experience of 18th century travellers as they discovered the architectural marvels of ancient Rome and Greece, throwing in nice observations of the differences in society encountered in the UK at the time. The book then illustrates how these ideals were imported back to Britain by the likes oif Inigo Jones.

In my opinion, Kevin McCloud is a brilliant presenter, bringing the inticracies of construction to a broader audience whilst not being afraid to pass incisive judgement. Unfortunately, this book is not thick enough to includes all of his observations which I feel are always worth hearing even if you may not be in agreement. Coming from a profession that is prone to view architects with suspicion, I feel Kevin McCloud makes some very salient points in their defence and the wonderful photographs ably illustrate his point. In many instances, some of the observations are extremely witty and, in a number of instances, they did raise a wry smile. Only the last chapter regarding the exploration of the Alps seemed a little strained and I would have preferred that he had concentrated on building. Never-the-less, the whole good was a very good read and quickly polished off. My only reservations were that I would have appreciated more detail and the author's views so interesting that I wished there had been more to read of the same. Little more than 200 pages thick, the book does not cover all the topics discussed in the TV series - hence the point deduction. An enjoyable read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent read! 5 Sep 2010
A well-written book: a much more enjoyable read if you have seen the Channel 4 TV series beforehand. (As mentioned by another reviewer-why isn't the TV series out on DVD here yet? It already is in Australia! A real mystery, that)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars a good idea spoilt by carelessness 7 Mar 2010
By Ribble
I enjoyed the Channel 4 series, but the book itself is a big disappointment. There are silly, basic and trivial errors in every chapter, often on adjacent pages. These are at the level of absolute schoolboy howlers--referring to the Royal Society 20 years before it was founded,calling Dorothy Wordsworth the poet's wife rather than his sister, and having Shelley die 'on his way from Italy to Greece' when he was simply on a boating outing that went wrong. The publishers--and Mr McCloud--should be ashamed of themselves.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars grand tour by kevin mc loud 28 Feb 2010
a very good book to back up the television series, a danger for any book trying to emulate a television series is it cant convey being there . But this book does try and cover the reasons why the grand tour was a necessity for those fun loving aristocrats who felt compelled to view the wonders of a by-gone age.The book has an abundance of relevant photographs to back up kevin's comments. I like his style of writing , not too stuffy, comical at times, but always backed up with historical accuracy. A good read for someone new to the ancient world.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
nice front cover mate
Published 1 month ago by the man
5.0 out of 5 stars true to the programme
This book gives an excellent account of Grand Tours of Europe in an entertaining way.It is a really good read
Published 4 months ago by violetta prest
5.0 out of 5 stars Good Purchase
This was a present it arrived on time and was just what the person wanted. This is a really good way to shop.
Published 18 months ago by margaret anne spolton
5.0 out of 5 stars GREAT
Great book in the Kevin Mccloud style, great to browse through and well worth a purchase. Would recommend to anybody who is addicted to Grand Designs
Published 21 months ago by sw brooke
5.0 out of 5 stars wonderful gift
I brought this book as a birthday gift -It was most appreciated as the recipient was about to head off on holiday-great book & great service
thank you
Published on 25 Jun 2011 by Mrs. K. J. Colvill
5.0 out of 5 stars Kevin McCloud - Grand Tour of Europe
I had borrowed this book from the library, and just had to have my own copy. It is a book you NEVER want to return to the library. Words cant describe it. Read more
Published on 14 Dec 2010 by Katie New Zealand
3.0 out of 5 stars Why the 'climate change' message?
A good book ruined by the 'Climate Change' lecture in the preface.

Stick to what you know about Kevin, I bought the book to read and learn about architecture, not to... Read more
Published on 23 Nov 2009 by Mr. Steven D. Wood
5.0 out of 5 stars Grand Tour
Purchased as a birthday present. Feedback from the recipient is that the book was enjoyed and the present appreciated.
Published on 9 Nov 2009 by P. Selby
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