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Stepping-Stones: A Journey through the Ice Age Caves of the Dordogne Hardcover – April 20, 2010
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Top Customer Reviews
I could not recommend this book more highly and have ordered copies to give friends and family members who may never be able to experience these wonders first hand. This book is the next best thing.
The real question the reader wants answered is "why" and, apparently so far, that answer is simply unknown. But that doesn't stop other authors from profoundly speculating.
Thankfully this book does not focus on that type of guessing game. Ms. Desdemaines-Hugon does a very good job of sticking to what it is and not why it is.
The problem however, it seems to me, based on what is actually known this is a subject for a book of illustrations, not page after page after page of text. If you haven't seen at least a copy the painting a glowing description of the "Mona Lisa", no matter how accurate, is a rather useless and frustrating experience. I found myself simultaneously ( and for the most part unsuccessfully ) searching other sources for some visual confirmation of the authors rapturous opinions.
Bottom line, good but not great.
I believe the product description for the kindle edition should mention when important features of the book are missing.
I have really enjoyed the book so far so my rating is just for the kindle edition!
The author, Christine Desdemaines-Hugon, writes in a fashion that is informative, but not above my head.
She freely states this book is a "more like a story, than anything else" and that is what I was looking for, regarding ice age cave art.
I am interested in an introduction, a basic understanding of the subject, and Ms. Desdemaines-Hugon provides that very well.
I highly recommend the book.
For what it's worth, this book is one of the few English language books that is on sale in *all* of the museum shops in the region.
And, for anyone thinking of visiting the region it is absolutely awesome to stand in places with 50,000 years or more of human history under foot.
Even more significantly, Desdemaines-Hugon is insightful and profound without projecting personal or cultural interpretations on the imagery or it's location (inside caves). Throughout the book, while questions and reflections flow, interpretations are notably absent. She consistently demonstrates a method of experiencing the place and the art with unassuming openess. Then in the last 3 pages she makes a concise and well supported statement, concluding, "What moves us today, whether for aesthetic or mystical reasons also touched these Paleolithic artists...Stylistic conventions, techniques, cultural motivations may vary over time, but . . . Beauty is spiritual." Some may disagree with that statement on the surface, but keep in mind I jumped from the middle to the end of 3 important pages. I recommend reading this book just for the broader implications of that idea and its fleshed out argument, as well as to enable one to avoid approaching Paleolithic art without a conceptual box in hand, looking for pieces that fit.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Amazing book...if one is interested in a deeper understanding of cave art and the some of the most important caves of the Dordogne, this is a great source.Published 10 months ago by Barry H. Gatz
Ms. Desdemaines-Hugon, educated as an artist before getting her archeology degree, is particularly qualified to emphasize specific artistic details and techniques of the Ice Age... Read morePublished 21 months ago by Cydha B
To find an author who is not only so knowledgeable but can present that knowledgeable in a highly legible and engrossing book is a rarity. Read morePublished 22 months ago by Earl Stokes
Best book written on the prehistory art caves in the Dordogne France. Great photos and explanations of the art it's evolution through time from 45000-12000 BP and why it's... Read morePublished 23 months ago by Fiona Mackenzie
Christine was our guide on a trip to the Perigord last Spring. She is incredibly knowledgeable and passionate aabout the subject. Read morePublished on June 22, 2014 by Av
The book is in good condition and matches the contents description. The connection to art and artists is unusual for this sort of book.Published on February 4, 2014 by LiDona
This book should been fascinating as the topic is intriguing. But compared to similar books in this field I found it rather boring.Published on January 7, 2014 by blooms
I purchased this book in preparation for a trip to the Dordogne region of France. The book was well written and informative. Read morePublished on August 20, 2013 by Jim B.