- Hardcover: 248 pages
- Publisher: Praeger (December 30, 2005)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0275984141
- ISBN-13: 978-0275984144
- Product Dimensions: 7 x 0.6 x 10 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 1 customer review
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,757,255 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Britain's Medieval Castles
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"This book is an overview of castles in the British Isles, almost exclusively in England and Wales, and is lucidly written by an unabashed amateur enthusiast. It seeks to be analytical, addressing offensive, defensive, and residential functions, and rightly emphasizing the sheer prestige of castles, subdividing chapters into topics such as gates, bridges, and towers." - Choice
"The founder of Castles Unlimited, which promotes their appreciation and preservation, Hull has written two previous surveys of castles, but here she focuses not so much on particular castles as on features of castles built in Britain from the 11th to the 15th centuries. She explains how the architectural elements and construction techniques allowed the castles to serve simultaneously as offensive weapons, defensive strongholds, residences, and status symbols. Raglan Castle in Wales is her detailed case study." - Reference & Research Book News/Art Book News Annual 2007
"This well-researched books deals with all aspects of the castle in Britain. The author knows her subject well and writes lucidly about more than just the structures: she places them in their socio-political and historical contexts which casts a fresh light on their complex histories over several centuries." (Michael Freeman, Curator, Ceredigion Museum, Aberystwyth, Wales)
"Those studying medieval castles in Britain are fortunate in that not only is there a wealth of these structures scattered through the island, of all types, sizes and date, but over the years the subject has generated a vast number of books, both general and academic. Such literature is not always easily accessible to those outside Britain who want to read serious studies about castles, rather than just the general 'coffee table' book, the main value of which is often limited to some fine photographs. Lise Hull, most familiar to us in Britain through her studies of castles in a particular area of Wales, has remedied this situation by producing an excellent overview of what castles, are, how they were used, and how they developed. The popular image of castles representing an age of perpetual siege warfare is truly dispelled here, giving the reader a more accurate idea of the role of the castle in medieval society." (John R. Kenyon, National Museums & Galleries of Wales, U.K., author of Medieval Fortifications)
"Growing up in the part of the world most densely populated with castles, and writing books upon Welsh history and culture, I assumed that my knowledge of castles was fairly comprehensive. However, this wonderful book, by an acknowledged expert in the field, has been a revelation. If you wish to know, not just about the development and architecture of castles through the ages, but also about how they could be attacked and defended, then this is the book for you. Not only this, but Lise Hull covers their use not only as 'offensive weapons' but also as status symbols, and reflects upon the nature of the men who built them and lived in them. This is a book that can be read for enjoyment, but also can be used for reference over the years, a book that needed to be written." (Terry Breverton, publisher, Wales Boos/Glyndwr Publishing, author of numerous books including An A-Z of Wales and the Welsh)
"Clear, concise and thorough. This is a book that helps the layman understand the origins of castles and castle building in Great Britain. Lise Hull does a superb job of laying out just how deeply castles have worked their way into the psyche of the ancient Brits and why. Lise Hull also speaks to the expert in arguing that castles were not only meant for defensive positioning but for offensive purposes as well. For anyone wanting to understand the history of castles throughout Britain this is a great source." (Cheryl Lewallen, former contributing features writer The Capitol, former news anchor, WRC-AM and WTOP-FM^L news writer at WUSA-TV)
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Top customer reviews
It is not a coffee table book, but a well written book that is enjoyable to read and covers the subject of British castles well. The text provides a description of these medieval structures that includes background material and how the castles evolved through and even after the Medieval Period. The author provides the type of detail expected for a book on castles and sieges, but her skillful mix of British history makes this all so much better than what is found in similar works.
Even some of the aspects that are usually ignored because they are not truly about castles are described in detail because they play an important part in the human imagination. One that I found quite interesting was the author's description of how some castles, although not built for that purpose, were used as prisons and some of the famous personalities involved, although much of this happened after the medieval period. A description is included of the oubliette and its use. This is one of those mysterious features few castles had for isolating prisoners from the world. It was basically a windowless pit- like feature (bottle shaped) where entrance and exit was only possible by rope or ladder. Other items covered that are of interest include the "Sham" castles built after the medieval period as imitations of the real thing.
If there are any problems with this work it may only be said that the publisher opted not to include any plans or maps, but they did include many interesting photos. When this book is done in paperback we can only hope that plans and maps will be added by the publisher to truly make this a classic work. For now the reader can probably find a decent map of the location of castles on the internet and also plans of the ones covered. If you are interested in castles in the British Isles, or castles in general, this excellent book is a must!