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Closeout Price! Recommended. By R.G. Grant. Lighthouses have always unsettled and attracted in equal measure, highlighting the triumphs and failures in humanity’s battle with the forces of nature. Taking as its heroes the lighthouses themselves, Sentinels of the Sea describes the engineering genius that allowed their construction on even the smallest of rock outcrops and the innovations that made the lights so powerful and reliable. Intricate, elegant architectural plans and elevations, and evocative period drawings and photographs showcase the innovative designs and technologies behind 100 historic lighthouses built around the world from the 18th to the 20th century. Thames & Hudson Ltd, 2018.

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Lighthouses have always unsettled and attracted in equal measure, highlighting the triumphs and failures in humanity’s battle with the forces of nature. Taking as its heroes the lighthouses themselves, Sentinels of the Sea describes the engineering genius that allowed their construction on even the smallest of rock outcrops and the innovations that made the lights so powerful and reliable. Intricate, elegant architectural plans and elevations, and evocative period drawings and photographs showcase the innovative designs and technologies behind 100 historic lighthouses built around the world from the 18th to the 20th century.

Full color pages begin with original engineering designs as far back as 1685, with a preponderance of unique details running all through the 1800s. Very fancy gold-embossed cover, cloth spine.

R.G. Grant’s engaging and authoritative text chronicles the incredible feats of engineering and endurance that brought these iconic, isolated towers into being, the advances in lens technology that made the lights so effective, and the everyday routines of the lighthouse keepers and the heroic rescues that many performed. Packed with extraordinary stories of human endeavor, desperate shipwrecks, builders defying the elements and heroic sea rescues, the book also reveals the isolation and vulnerability of the dedicated lighthouse keepers.

One of my favorite books is The Lighthouse Stevensons, which tells how the extended family of author Robert Louis Stevenson were nearly all engineers. They proceeded to ring Scotland with lighthouses in the 19th century, finally creating a web of safety for ships and sailors that had been sorely lacking until then. They overcame extreme obstacles to build structures on tiny islands, spits of lands, and peninsulas. Many were lonely outposts, subject to terrific gales and giant waves that could demolish any structure improperly built. This book is very similar, with abundant detail on pioneering lighthouses and how they survived…and sometimes did not. -Bud

 

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