Friday, January 2, 2015

Book Review: London Rising

London Rising: The Men Who Made Modern London
Leo Hollis

I picked this up in Mercer Street Books on a recent trip to New York. Not an instant classic, but good. Hollis intelligently picks a few characters and follows them, rather than trying to discuss anyone and everyone. The most central figure is Christopher Wren, but Robert Hooke, John Locke, and a few others feature as well. It gives a good broad-brush view covering a good 60 years of eventful history, without ever getting lost.

The one thing I wish it had was a diagram, or better yet many diagrams. A big chunk of the book is naturally devoted to the building of St. Paul's Cathedral. We've been there--we've even taken the tour--but there's a lot of architecture floating around London Rising, and it would be useful to have a way to visualize it.

Good companion books include Ross King's Brunelleschi's Dome  and R. A. Scotti's Basilica.

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