The Random House Book of How Things Were Built

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9780679820444: The Random House Book of How Things Were Built
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An illustrated history of more than sixty notable structures of the ancient and modern world. Includes detailed diagrams and a glossary of architectural terms.

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From Kirkus Reviews:

Spanning several centuries and continents, a sweeping compendium of famous structures and the methods used in their construction. Though visually striking, the book is marred by poor labeling and some very confusing illustrations by a miscellany of artists: the drawings for the step pyramid don't show the stages described in the text; the crane on the Pharos lighthouse is braced so that it's liable to fall on the windlass; a pile driver in early Amsterdam has feet at right angles to its top, with a decidedly Escher-like result; adding bracing to the groin in Durham Cathedral is described as a ``structural breakthrough,'' but it's necessary to puzzle through definitions for ``groin'' and ``vault'' in the glossary and then flip back to the illustration to understand what might be meant; the drawing showing how suspension cables were spun for the Golden Gate Bridge is largely inscrutable; etc., etc. As a history of building styles, this has some use, as does the extensive glossary of building terms; but when it comes to explaining How Things Were Built, it confuses as often as it explains. Oddly inconsistent index. Pity, really. (Nonfiction. 10+) -- Copyright ©1992, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

From School Library Journal:

Grade 3-6-- A hodgepodge of 60 diagrams offers a quick glance at some of the world's major historical and contemporary stuctures. In chronological order, double-page layouts provide cutaway diagrams, layouts, and labeled sketches. Sidebars or boxes add details to explain architectural and engineering technology or vocabulary. Few readers will get enough detail for reports, and it is unlikely the book will be read from cover to cover. Rather, it can be used as a prelude to more extensive reading or as a menu for readers to pick out topics to research more fully elsewhere. The topics included are as diverse as Machu Picchu and the Hoover Dam, as familiar as the Eiffel Tower, and as obscure as the Sagrada Familia , a cathedral in Spain. Details are occasionally too small to see clearly what is being discussed. There is no timeline. Young's Castles, Pyramids and Palaces (Usborne, 1990) looks at fewer, but many of the same, stuctures and has an illustrated glossary and a helpful timeline. --Jeanette Larson, Texas State Library, Austin
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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