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The Cathedral Builders Hardcover – June, 1983
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I found it absolutely fascinating, as he explained the politics that gave rise to the astonishing building projects that involved entire communities for centuries and whose artisans are, with the exception of Villard, wholly unkown. Gimpel then goes through the crytic notebook of Villard - the only true record of the era's methods besides the works themselves - deciphering it for non-specialists like myself. In his view, built during a late-medieval economic boom, the cathedrals used a new kind of geometry and practical experimentation that foreshadowed the discoveries of the Renaissance. Some would even argue that the gothic cathedral architects and builders presaged the scientific method that emerged during the Enlightenment. Gimpel provides plenty of fodder for that interpretation.
Obviously Mr. Gimpel should stick to writing about the past and stop predicting the future (He should have learned from Marx, but hey it was the seventies, the Soviet Union still looked like it would do more than kill a lot of people).
I found the book pleasant reading and it is a must read for an entry level History of Technology buff.
Gimple was one of the firsts in the field, so we must give him respect no matter how off some of his thought turned out to be.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A thoroughly well researched study of medieval technology and social history. Not quite a builder's block to how to build your own, more why they tried in the first placePublished 15 months ago by Jenni Rees
So far I'm enjoying this more than I expected to. The parts about Abbot Suget are enlightening and funny. I'm laughing more than I thought I would explring the gothic movement.Published on December 1, 2011 by tierny
The translation of this fascinating book is as bad as any translation of any book translated from any language into English. Read morePublished on October 18, 2006 by Kreutzer Sonata