This section of the blog describes a selection of the books I've written. It concentrates on my books on architecture and buildings, because they're the ones most likely to interest readers of this blog. But I also include here a few on other subjects, for general interest.
Books about architecture
My writing career began with my first love – architecture and buildings – when I was commissioned by Dorling Kindersley to write Amazing Buildings, a children’s introduction to the world’s greatest buildings from the Colosseum to the Sydney Opera House. Amazing Buildings won an award from the American Institute of Architects, and since then I have written several more architecture books for children, plus a number of books on the subject for adults including:
Unmitigated England, Peter Ashley.
• England’s Abbeys (English Heritage Publications), an introduction to the monastic culture and buildings of medieval England, tracing in outline the story of monasticism in England from Saxon times to the Tudor period and describing the key parts of a monastery and how they were used.
• 50 Architecture Ideas You Really Need To Know (Quercus), provides the low-down on fifty of the most important 'big ideas' behind buildings, from classicism to deconstruction, and a lot more in between. Introduces the key movements and styles and explains the thinking behind them.
Books on historical subjects
Throughout my career, I have also written on historical subjects. As well as several children’s books on subjects such as ancient civilizations, the history of exploration, and the life of the knight in the Middle Ages, I contributed text to a number of pioneering multimedia titles, such as DK’s Eyewitness History of the World and Stowaway! I also have an abiding interest in the history of technology, which bore fruit in four short books for Oxford University Press on Speed, Flight, Space, and Time. Amongst my other history titles are:
• Turn Back Time: The High Street (Quercus), the history of a century of change on the British High Street. This lively account of the history of shops and shopping describes the working lives of butchers, bakers, ironmongers, and other traditional shopkeepers; how ideals of service and craftsmanship in retailing were gradually replaced by competition based on price and convenience; and how small town-centre shops have gradually been eclipsed by vast out-of-town stores.
• Rome, in Weldon Owen’s new INFINITY series, is a colourful introduction to the Roman empire and its history for younger readers. The building of the city, the growth of the empire, life in country and city, and entertainments from the Colosseum to the Circus Maximus are all covered. The publishers have pulled out all the stops to produce amazing gatefolds and dramatic illustrations that help bring the period alive.
Books on beliefs and traditions
Many years ago I wrote A Celebration of the Customs and Rituals of the World, a big book made beautiful by illustrations by Robert Ingpen. I was honoured when this book was adopted by the United Nations for their Year of the Family, and I went on to write a number of books on belief systems, religions, and traditions, many of which were published by Dorling Kindersley. A well as a trio of books in DK’s ground-breaking Eyewitness series (on Christianity, Islam, and Buddhism), I have also written:
• Eyewitness Companions: Religions (Dorling Kindersley), a handbook to the world’s major faiths.