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4.5 out of 5 stars17
4.5 out of 5 stars
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on 27 March 2012
For such a small book with such detailed drawings, the clarity is remarkable. Building in a pre-electrical age, with hand-wielded tools, one can only marvel at what these Middle Ages people managed to conceive, and what many more put together.

This book is technical. Architects, engineers and construction people of all kinds would get a lot out it because they would understand the full implications of what was achieved. Anyone else has to work a bit harder, but even this non-specialist found a lot to enjoy. It was clearly and simply written by someone who obviously loved what he was researching.
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on 28 December 2009
This very readable little book is positivelly crammed with contemporary illustrations. Of particular interest are the reproductions of original construction drawings, and details of ornament and colour as originally designed and applied.

As one would expect, most of the illustrations are of continental (especially French) origin and thus new to most British readers. The quality of the reproductions is very good in a book of so low a cost, and the colours are nothing short of magnificent.

Strongly recommended - a glorious trip around an under rated corner of history. The Cathedral Builders of the Middle Ages (New Horizons)
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VINE VOICEon 21 February 2013
This small book will give you a basic overview of how a medieval cathedral would have been commissioned, why, who would have designed and built them, where the stones came from, and the basics of how they were built.

Be aware though that when I say the basics, I do mean the basics - if you're expecting this book to show you the difference between various types of arches, what crockets, corbels and roof bosses are and where to look for them, and how and why flying buttresses are so important (and how they work) then expect to be left none the wiser.

So in short this book will serve you as a basic overview, but it won't necessarily aid you with any practical pointers on how to tell a Romanesque arch from an Early English arch or an Ogee one when you next visit a cathedral. So don't expect to take it with you when you visit a cathedral.
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on 27 February 2012
surely a good book for a taste of the subject. the new horizon series are however very small books with a frustrating layout of text pictures and captions. the document section at the rear is worthwhile and is a good book to flick through. wishing to study the subject in some detail this book feels like a false start. it is packed with very good illustrations and photos
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on 20 November 2015
A small but comprehensive book, full of detail which should interest the specialist and layman alike. A useful work to consult prior to exploring individual cathedrals themselves. It makes you really appreciate the logistical challenges and sheer physical effort involved in these mammoth undertakings. One wonders how many serious or fatal accidents must have occurred during construction? Health and Safety Regulators would have had a field day! The drawings and pictures would have been better appreciated if published in a larger format.
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This book was a gift for a 12 year old who had done exceptionally well at school. And he has enjoyed it immensely.
Some of the material is a little old for him, but overall the design and language are extremely accessible. It has shifted his attentions across from knights and castles to the architectual riches of the middle ages, and he can see that there were greater achievements than warfare and jousting. There have been attempts to copy parts of some illustrations in Lego!
He now actually wants to visit a cathedral to see the complexity of the building's design and realisation; he also looks at gothic-style churches with a more informed eye.
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on 27 January 2012
I bought this book because I'm a stonemason and as such have a huge interest in the construction of historical buildings. This book is really great as it goes into detail about the day-to-day and everyday carpenter, roofer, stonemason and unskilled labourers who built the great cathedrals and castles.

Fascinating especially if you work in the constriction/restoration/conservation trades!
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on 30 November 2014
Great little book for those just starting out on discovering the wonders of medieval cathedrals. Only takes a few hours to read and has lots of illustrations. Unfortunately these are randomly situated across the pages which can make following the text a bit difficult but that's my only gripe.
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on 26 April 2013
A very compact and well produced little book that gives basic information on the history and building methods of the time. Will be helpful to have a magnifying glass handy as the diagrams are detailed but very very small.
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on 15 August 2010
I was inspired by the wonderful Ely Cathedral to wonder "how on earth did they build this?" and you'll be amazed. We may think of ourselves in the 21st century as knowing (almost) everything but the people who built the Cathedrals certainly knew a thing a two, and what they did'nt know they learned fast when towers and walls collapsed. You'll never look at one of these wonderful structures in the same light again.
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