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Castle based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Castle, part of the Eyewitness Books collection, is an interesting but ADD-like romp through the topic. The opening page is one of self-promotion, presenting 56 covers of other Eyewitness books. This can be helpful if the reader enjoys this style of book. The cover pages set the tone for the book. There is a simply stated title, Eyewitness Castles, surrounded by tiny pictures and captions, reminiscent of a cloud of gnats swirling about a head. The contents include simple two or three word titles. The author, Christopher Gravett, does his best to lump similar topics together. Gravett has sections that tell about castles geographically, defensive/war aspects of a castle, the parts of the castle and the people residing in the castle. However, there is not much connectivity between sections. For example, there is a jump from Crusader Castles to Castles in Japan, followed by The Great Hall, a room present only in European castles. The format of every page is exactly the same, which can be annoying or helpful, depending on personal preference. There is a one or two paragraph explanation of the topic. This is like the main idea. The supporting details are the pictures and illustrations following the brief body of the section. The accompanying captions to these graphic range from simply labeling to a multi-sentenced, information-packed description. The labeling is very efficient in that instead of lengthy explanations of very specific castle parts and pieces, the new vocabulary and terminology can be seen. Instead of defining turret, belfry, and staggered arrow loop, they can be clearly illustrated. After the end of the main content, aptly named Castles in Decline, there is a hodgepodge of sections such as Did You Know? Who's Who, and Find Out More. Accompanying the book is a giant poster, containing random facts, and a clip art CD. A notable aspect of the book is its language. The language is technical and full of precise historical, literary and architectural references. For example "The illustration of September from the Duke of Berry's Tres riches heures of about 1416 shows the grape harvest in the vineyard below the whitewashed walls of Saumur Castle...The upper parts, although machicolated, have fantastic Gothic-style carved traceries." For whom is this book written? How would this book be used in a classroom? Good question. Perhaps, because there are various sections about one topic, students could compare and contrast castles in different parts of the world or how the lives of people in the castle differ. The graphic-filled book could also be helpful to have in a European history class.