As Pryce (coauthor, Brick: A World History) notes in his preface, all surveys are subjective, and this one is no exception. The focus is on "masterworks" as opposed to a measured progression of architecturally significant buildings; for another, the British author has an understandable soft spot for English buildings (they account for nine of the 49 examples). Pryce goes beyond the usual suspects and covers buildings from all over the world, including many in India, Turkey, and other parts of the Middle East as well as some European styles that are not currently in vogue (for example, Spanish Churrigueresque and German Rococo). The real strength of the book lies in the photographs, all taken by Pryce. VERDICT A coffee-table book in the best sense: full of new, color photographs of buildings from all over the world and brief descriptions that highlight the salient points of each. For an academic audience, the lack of floor plans and the focus on masterworks rather than architectural history may be drawbacks, but a general audience will simply enjoy the world tour.-Amy Trendler, Ball State Univ. Libs., Muncie, IN (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
The sheer brilliance and detail of the photographs cause us to see with fresh eyes what may be over-familiar... or easily overlooked.