- Paperback: 224 pages
- Publisher: Profile Books; Main edition (25 Jun. 2009)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1861978804
- ISBN-13: 978-1861978806
- Product Dimensions: 13 x 1.6 x 19.8 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 286,435 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Stonehenge Paperback – 25 Jun 2009
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Her book is a treasure: stylish, thoughtful, miraculously condensed, and as full of knowledge as megalith is full of megalith (Sunday Times)
She brings genuine originality to the cultural history of Stonehenge; nobody has until now considered it as literature, poetry and art, in this comprehensive way (Times Literary Supplement)
A fascinating overview (Time Out)
This is a fascinating account of how Stonehenge has been written up over the years ... this is a thoroughly researched history that's both entertaining and authoritative (Lesley McDowell Independent on Sunday 2009-06-14)
Clear, intelligent and often highly amusing, this study achieves something new in the voluminous literature on Stonehenge ... excellent. (Christopher Hirst Independent 2009-06-26)
Intelligent and often witty ... refreshingly unmocking. (Andrew Holgate Sunday Times 2009-06-21)
A thorough examination of England's most captivating World Heritage Site. (Julian Fleming Sunday Business Post 2009-07-05)
Superbly researched and thoroughly entertaining account of the monument's history (Simon Shaw Mail on Sunday 2009-08-16)
`Clear, intelligent and often highly amusing, this study achieves something new in the voluminous literature on Stonehenge.... excellent.'See all Product description
Top Customer Reviews
The book does look at the archaeology: the three-phase building (with the sarcen stones now dated to about 2580-2470 BC), and the enduring puzzle of how the bluestones could have been brought to the site from Wales. And it reminds us that it's not an isolated monument, but is part of a whole network of earthworks in the area - including its equally mysterious wooden counterpart, Durrington Walls.
What becomes really clear though, is how influential Stonehenge has been on British culture. Over time, people have thought it a temple, an observatory, a hospital or spa, a monument to ancestor-worship, a royal burial ground, or even Stone Age sculpture. It's featured in the arts from Wordsworth to Spinal Tap via Thomas Hardy and Barbara Hepworth. It has inspired strange follies, and influenced unlikely areas of British architecture from Bath to Covent Garden to Milton Keynes. Finally the book reviews how the solstice has been celebrated there on and off since the 1870s with the Free Festivals, the Battle of the Beanfield, and the current 'open access'.Read more ›
This all adds up to a comprehensive and entertaining survey. Various characters are introduced, each having their own (often bonkers) theory as to who built Stonehenge and for what purpose. These people were often eccentrics and Hill describes them wittily, for example there is Jens Jacob Worsaae, an archaeologist who 'on his more important excavations..liked to be accompanied by a brass band', and the polymath John Lubbock who spent three months trying to teach his poodle to read 'without success'.
The Druids, despite having nothing to do with the origins of Stonehenge, since the 17th-century have been a constant companion to the monument. They form a thread running through Stonehenge's story and Hill wryly describes their fortunes over time. Her deadpan style is often hilarious such as in the following description of the Edwardian magazine 'The Druid':
"It carried advertisements of interest to readers in search of a 'Druidic Haircut and shave', a Druid convalescent home or a bona fide sample of magic cork.Read more ›
It is not an entirely uninteresting book but it told me very little about the things I am truly interested in.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
How good it is when a subject is treated in such af ascinatingPublished on 26 Sept. 2014 by Christine M
Very well thought out and executed ! A very good touchstone when looking into any and most of the main theories throughout time about Stonehenge. Read morePublished on 22 Aug. 2014 by Lauren
book was describes as bring in good condition, i wasnt expecting it to be like new, but it had a personal message scrawled on the inside cover! Read morePublished on 6 Dec. 2013 by adam dewhirst
It covers manifold aspects. Very interesting but also enjoyable to be read it gives an idea of the evolution of thought through the different interpretations.Published on 22 Aug. 2013 by Caterina
This is a broad overview of Stonehenge, starting with a brief outline of its prehistory and continuing with how it's struck more recent visitors. Read morePublished on 6 Nov. 2011 by Mr. Karl Blau