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Customer Review

on December 29, 2010
I am a major fan of Christopher Alexander's work, and this text was very illuminating. The book is made up of Grabow's own commentary interspersed between lengthy transcriptions of Alexander's own words. In many ways this book is a study of Christopher Alexander via Thomas Kuhn and the history of science.

As a biography, it lacks an adequate timeline or details about Alexander's personal life, but includes many events that appear directly relevant to his architecture and aesthetics work. No serious attempt is made to show where Alexander is flawed in his thinking -- nothing suggests that Grabow has any special insight into critically extending Alexander's work, beyond the useful connections to Kuhn. For those interested in isolating the scientific insights that CA is pursuing, this book is essential reading, allowing one to separate CA's personality from his objective discoveries better than any other available work I know of.

Good photographs, some recycled from Alexander's books, are scattered through the main body of the text, and there are several dozen photos collected at the end. A good bibliography is given. The direct transcription of CA's words is especially delightful. There are some annoying spelling errors sprinkled throughout the whole thing.
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