Cover image for Architecture, from prehistory to postmodernity
Architecture, from prehistory to postmodernity
Trachtenberg, Marvin.
Personal Author:
Second edition.
Publication Information:
New York : H.N. Abrams, 2002.
Physical Description:
624 pages : illustrations (some color), plans ; 30 cm
General Note:
Rev. ed. of: Architecture, from prehistory to post-modernism. 1986.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
NA200 .T7 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area-Oversize

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This highly regarded, consistently well-selling and extremely well-written book brings to life architectural history and its canon of great buildings through a lively approach that is both insightful and accurate. This story of architecture moves back and forth between long views of historical trends and close-ups of major works and crucial architectural themes. The authors have successfully made the subject of architectural history - which due to its technical aspects can too often be off-putting to the lay reader - transparent, engaging, and easily mastered. All buildings are illustrated with effective images that are well reproduced and thoughtfully keyed to the text. In the second edition, the content of the book has been fine-tuned and polished. Sections in the Renaissance, Baroque, and Modern chapters were reworked to include recent scholarship and, in the case of the Baroque, expand coverage to Eastern Europe. The Introduction has been significantly updated in its slant and language, including a discussion of the newly introduced term Postmodernity. The most significant and exciting change, however, is the addition of the new chapter, which covers architectural development

Reviews 2

Library Journal Review

This new edition updates the 1986 edition of this authoritative historical survey of Western architecture. As the introduction points out, this survey is "mainly a history of monumental buildings." Trachtenberg (Dominion of the Eye: Urbanism, Art and Power in Early Modern Florence) and Hyman (Marcel Breuer, Architect) proceed chronologically, discussing significant styles, works, and architects. The scope is more restrictive than that of other heavyweights, e.g., Sir Banister Fletcher's a History of Architecture and Spiro Kostof and others' A History of Architecture: Settings and Rituals, which include non-Western and vernacular architecture. Nevertheless, this new volume considers diverse modes of modern architecture that have flourished, abetted by computer-aided design and unprecedented wealth, during the past 20 years. Included are very recent masterworks such as Daniel Libeskind's Jewish Museum in Berlin. The high-quality graphics include 91 color plates, and an illustrated glossary is provided. The many libraries holding the previous edition will want to purchase this update; other large public and academic libraries should also consider. David R. Conn, Surrey P.L., B.C. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

New material added to this popular 1986 work includes minor text revisions, a new chapter covering the last 25 years, additions to the ample supply of photographs (17 more in color to reach 91; 26 more among the 948 black and white) and some substitutions for earlier photos. But there are still too few plans and too many old photos--e.g., the Vatican's St. Peter's Basilica with its newly cleaned facade is misrepresented here. Trachtenberg and Hyman (both, New York Univ.), important specialists, present history as the genealogy of modernism, treating buildings as art objects expressing their time or architect, and never pondering why under modernism the cities these monuments inhabit have deteriorated visually and socially. Alternatives to this book include David Watkin's A History of Western Architecture (1st ed., CH, Feb'87; 2nd ed., 1996; 3rd ed., 2000), in which buildings embody a tradition running from the earliest civilizations up to the present; and Spiro Kostof's A History of Architecture (1st ed., CH, Dec'86; 2nd ed., 1995), which presents buildings and urban settings as products of culturally determined rituals. A sturdy binding serves this heavy book; glossary. General readers; lower-division undergraduates; professionals. C. W. Westfall University of Notre Dame