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80 of 82 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A feast for the eye
I had a copy of the original version of this book - its really interesting and describes the main images and symbols seen in Western Churches and makes a visit to these buildings so much more enjoyable and rewarding. Its also a good read in its own right. Many of the main biblical stories are retold (and the images associated with them explained) and the author also sets...
Published on 7 Oct 2004 by mary

versus
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing
This is a very poorly illustrated and disappointingly shallow volume. Fascinating subject very poorly delivered. Half of the text seems to have been included as a filler.

I very rarely buy a book I don't enjoy. This certainly qualifies as a disppontment
Published 19 months ago by Richard Thomas


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80 of 82 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A feast for the eye, 7 Oct 2004
By 
This review is from: How To Read A Church (Hardcover)
I had a copy of the original version of this book - its really interesting and describes the main images and symbols seen in Western Churches and makes a visit to these buildings so much more enjoyable and rewarding. Its also a good read in its own right. Many of the main biblical stories are retold (and the images associated with them explained) and the author also sets out some of the other stories about biblical characters that are more myth (that is they are not in the bible) which can be depicted in churches. This new edition seems to be more or less the same text but looks and feels completely different. It is larger (more a book to leave at home than one to take with you on a tourist trip), well designed with lots of colour photographs of the images exlained in the text. It is a real feast for the eye and would make a good present for anyone who likes making visits to churches and cathedrals.
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39 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Get the right version for you ...., 19 Sep 2010
By 
IzB (Sheffield UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: How To Read A Church: A Guide to Images, Symbols and Meanings in Churches and Cathedrals (Hardcover)
There are three different versions of this book: the original small red version which has the full text but very few pictures How to Read a Church: A Guide to Images, Symbols and Meanings in Churches and Cathedrals; the large white version which is a coffee table book and has lovely pictures How to Read a Church; and the 'pocket' version which appears on a different page Pocket Guide to How to Read a Church. The latter has an edited version of the text but most of the same pictures that come in the largest version. There are more details in my review on that page. Now that there is a TV series by the author its worth pointing out that the books pre-date the programmes and are not 'the book of the series' although I think if you like the programmes you will also enjoy the book.
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72 of 75 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The book does what it says in the title, 21 Feb 2005
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This review is from: How To Read A Church: A Guide to Images, Symbols and Meanings in Churches and Cathedrals (Hardcover)
I enjoyed reading this book and will refer to it often in the future. One of my pleasures is to visit cathederals and churches to appreciate the architecture, the history and place in communiy - but I had little detailed knowledge.
This book covers a wide variety of topics, some of which are: the orientation of the church; types of halos (5 are well illustrated using clear line drawings); the masons designs of gargoyles; the roles of Jesus, Mary and the Saints (as a non practicing Christian this was very useful); it even has a descriptive drawings of the vestments of bishops and priests (and how many of you know what a Rochet or an Alb is, and who wears it).
The writing style is informative and economical - no wasted words, but the ideas and knowledge are conveyed well
The copy I got from Amazon is hard cover, but is easy to carry as it is only approx 135 mm by 210 mm with 246 pages. The photos are in black and white.
This book is a bargain - buy it.
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating subject and well written book, 4 Jan 2009
This review is from: How To Read A Church (Hardcover)
I'm no church historian and not religious in any way, but I found this book totally absorbing and fascinating as an explanation of the imagery and decoration found in churches. I found the book by accident, borrowed an old paperback copy to read and then decided to treat myself to this beautiful version which has many more photos and illustrations to help you see what Dr Taylor is describing.

The book covers all sorts of information about the saints, carvings, pictures and symbols you might see in a church, their stories and what the images may have meant to the people making them or looking at them in a time when most people couldn't read. The book is very easy to read and quite fascinating. There is also a list of saints, their stories and the ways they can be recognised in pictures/carvings and there is a useful glossary of terms. These make the book perfect as a reference as well as great to read as a whole.

I've rarely been tempted to write to an author in praise of a book (and I've read a lot!), but this was an exception.

My only small gripe is the lack of explanation of non-Christian symbols and carvings in churches (green men, woodwoses, little pagan figures etc) that often crop up in early church designs before we were 'fully integrated' :-)
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating mine of information, 5 May 2009
By 
Mr. M. Bennet (Thatcham, England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: How To Read A Church: A Guide to Images, Symbols and Meanings in Churches and Cathedrals (Hardcover)
This book sets out to explain churches to people who don't know much about them, and even some who do.

Although it is simply written and set out, it contains a wealth of information, not easily accessible elsewhere, the about symbolism and purpose of church buildings. It gives clues about what to notice, and about the symbols to be found in pictures and on tombs.

The book will enrich any visit to a church - and could give teachers some interesting ideas about how to enliven and deepen lessons involving churches and church visits.

Simple, well done, excellent.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazon Confusion, 3 Dec 2011
This review is from: How To Read A Church (Hardcover)
Superb book but note there are 3 versions/editions of this book and Amazon have got them confused. The AMAZON price of 5.50 is for the smaller earlier version, not for this book which is the later illustrated 2004 edition. Hover your cursor over the prices box and you will see different cover pictures. Be carefull when purchasing. No-where can I find Amazon actually selling THIS 2004 book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing, 4 April 2013
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This review is from: How To Read A Church: A Guide to Images, Symbols and Meanings in Churches and Cathedrals (Hardcover)
This is a very poorly illustrated and disappointingly shallow volume. Fascinating subject very poorly delivered. Half of the text seems to have been included as a filler.

I very rarely buy a book I don't enjoy. This certainly qualifies as a disppontment
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Jacks happy, 22 Jan 2012
By 
J. W. Kramer "Jack" (Thetford) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: How To Read A Church: A Guide to Images, Symbols and Meanings in Churches and Cathedrals (Hardcover)
How To Read A Church: A Guide to Images, Symbols and Meanings in Churches and CathedralsThis followed on at my wifes request after seeing the TV show, she has enjoyed the book very much and it will accompany her anytime we visit a church. (often)
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Reading Churches, 22 Nov 2010
This review is from: How To Read A Church: A Guide to Images, Symbols and Meanings in Churches and Cathedrals (Hardcover)
A wonderful book. Full of information about the things in churches we rarely notice or understand.
There is no need to be religious to enjoy this book. Past craftsmen created wierd and wonderful works of art. This allows you to appreciate their skill.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Well worth the money, 29 Oct 2013
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This review is from: How To Read A Church: A Guide to Images, Symbols and Meanings in Churches and Cathedrals (Hardcover)
Very useful little book if you ever want to find your way around the fabric of a church building :o)
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