Author(s): Dan Cruickshank
Architecture is an all-embracing adventure without end. It is a story that can never be completed - not as long as mankind continues to build, to invent, to discover; it is the story told in this book. The history of architecture is also a history of many other things - of politics, economy, religion, of science, ecology and of art and culture generally - and so is essentially a history of the world. For architecture - in its forms and functions - is a very direct mirror of mankind's desires, concerns and aspirations. Journeying across the world, from Syria to Shrewsbury, Sudan to Southern Spain, Dan Cruickshank explores man's most impressive creations. Not only the bastions of defence and aggression; homes for the gods and the dead; temples of commerce and the arts; palaces to express taste, power and wealth; and shrines of science, of learning, knowledge and politics - but also of mammon and of physical and spiritual oppression and incarceration. Can an ignoble cause create great architecture, can a prison be a thing of beauty as well as of power? These are perennial philosophical questions this book seeks to answer. Ingeniously structured by theme, this book surveys civilisation through the pioneers, visionaries, follies, ancients, rhetoric, scale, survivals and revivals of its greatest constructions. Together, the stories in this beautifully illustrated book offer a stupendous global cultural history - a history that is full of mystery and ripe for rediscovery.
Praise for Dan Cruickshank: 'Beneath the jocular surface lies an entirely serious expertise. The breadth of Cruickshank's knowledge and the very speed of his journey enables him to make striking connections between apparently unrelated cultures ... illuminating ... inspirational' Guardian 'A colossal melting pot of a book: ambitious, rigorously researched, vigorously narrated and marvellously illustrated. All of life is here, but not as we know it' Sunday Times 'Fascinating ... a lively and scholarly panorama' Daily Mail
Dan Cruickshank is a writer and architectural historian who has made numerous history and culture programmes for the BBC including 'Britain's Best Buildings', 'Around the World in Eighty Treasures'; 'Adventures in Architecture'; 'Under Fire: Culture and Conflict in Afghanistan and Iraq'; 'Britain's Palaces' and 'The Country House Revealed'. He is the author of 'Life in the Georgian City'; 'The Secret History of Georgian London'; and 'Bridges: Heroic Designs that Changed the World'. He is an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects, was an editor on the Architects' Journal and The Architectural Review, was visiting Professor of Architecture at the University of Sheffield, has served on the executive committee of the Georgian Group and on the Architecture Panel of the National Trust, is a founding Trustee of the Spitalfields Historic Buildings Trust, of SAVE Britain's Heritage and of the campaign to rebuild the Euston Arch.