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***Castles of England, Scotland & Wales

by Paul Johnson

Reviewed September 15, 2003.
Phoenix Illustrated, London, 1997.  First published in 1989.  215 pages.
Available used from $27.25 on

I actually bought this book four years ago as a souvenir at Bodiam Castle in England.  However, I found it in an American edition on Amazon, so I thought I could go ahead and review it.  I finally got it read because of our trip to Scotland this summer.

If you are a castle nut like me, this book is simply a must-have.  It doesn’t have a comprehensive list of castles in Britain like the book Castles of Britain and Ireland by Plantagenet Somerset Fry, but it does have the detailed history of castle-building in Britain.  Starting with the Normans, it explains the different periods of castle-building, why castles were built, how they were used, and what current technology went into them.  The history is loaded with specific examples, and there are pictures on almost every set of two pages.

The index in the back will help you to find the story of almost any castle in England, Wales or Scotland.  There’s also a Gazetteer of selected castles that are open to the public that list their opening times and telephone numbers.

This book isn’t quick reading, and sometimes the details of floor plans were more than I was interested in, but overall I found the information fascinating.  This book would also be good for anyone especially interested in the history of England.  It explained that history in terms of what castles were built and how the aristocracy lived.

Copyright © 2003 Sondra Eklund.  All rights reserved.

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