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Medieval Castles

Castles dominated the landscape of Europe for hundreds of years. Below are books about castle construction and architecture, fortifications, life in medieval castles, picture books with lovely photos of beautiful castles, and books specifically about castles in England, Scotland and Wales.

Buy Books about Medieval Castles
The Medieval Fortress
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The Medieval Fortress: Castles, Forts and Walled Cities of the Middle Ages
by Joseph Kaufmann, illustrated by W.H. Kaufmann and Robert M. Jurga

Both author and illustrators are experts in military history. Learn about castle architecture, fortification and weaponry from Britain to the Crusader castles of Middle East. Over 100 photographs and 400 technical illustrations, including details for each castle type. Has a 1,000-year timeline of important sieges. A very thorough reference for military and medieval history buffs.
The Medieval Castle : Life in a Fortress
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The Medieval Castle: Life in a Fortress in Peace and War (Classic History)
by Philip Warner

The influence of the castle, both on the course of history and on the lives of the people who lived in them, has never been fully explored-until now. This fascinating book examines the evolution of the medieval castle, from the rigid social structure of its society to the types of weapons, training, and tactics employed during wartime. Above all, The Medieval Castle is a book about the daily life-from clothes and food to recreation and customs-and the people who made their homes inside a military fortress.
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by David MacAulay

Supposedly, MacAulay's books are just for children, but we know better. Here we follow along with the building of a 13th century castle in Wales: brick-by-brick, with every detail included. Fascinating, accurate and wonderful for understanding how they did it. We can't recommend MacAulay's books highly enough.

For another terrific "children's book" try Castle : Stephen Biesty's Cross-Sections (a 14th century castle, slice-by-slice).
Castles and Fortresses
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Castles and Fortresses
by Robin S. Oggins

As evidenced by the picture of Neuschwanstein on the cover, this is a coffee table book with dozens of lovely photographs of castles and castle ruins from all over Europe (including the Kremlin), and progressing to North America (Hearst Castle, even the Disney World castle!). Very well done if you are looking for pretty pictures. The text is a nice accompaniment.
Castles : Their Construction and History
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Castles: Their Construction and History
by Sidney Toy

Dry, detailed, and thorough, this is a straightforward military history, from primitive wooden barriers through elaborate stone castles, of the evolution in fortress construction based on the needs of evolving warfare and weaponry. For those with a keen interest.
The History of Castles
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The History of Castles: Fortifications Around the World
by Christopher Gravett

Wow! This terrific book, filled with gorgeous photographs and tons of maps, discusses the history of castles and fortifications around the world. The author is chief curator at Her Majesty's Tower of London (talk about being surrounded by history!). Read this book, and then take it with you when you travel - there's bound to be a nearby site to visit.
Crusader Castles
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Crusader Castles
by Hugh Kennedy

This is a general account of the history and architecture of Crusader castles in the Kingdom of Jerusalem, County of Tripoli and Principality of Antioch between 1099 and 1291, the years during which the Crusaders had a permanent presence on the Levantine coast. Extensive use is made of contemporary chronicles to show the reasons why castles were built and how they were used in peace and war. The book is fully illustrated by photographs, drawings and plans, and contains a comprehensive bibliography.
Castles and Ancient Monuments of Scotland
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Castles & Ancient Monuments of Scotland
by Damien Noonan

Over 300 beautiful photographs enhance this detailed travel guide to the castles and ancient archeological and religious sites of Scotland - includes detailed histories, maps and directions. Did you know that brochs (round stone towers) are unique to Scotland and not found anywhere else? A wonderful resource for either the armchair traveller or actual tourist.

Noonan is the also the author of Castles and Ancient Monuments of England which has the same setup organized by county.
Life in a Medieval Castle
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Life in a Medieval Castle
by Joseph and Frances Gies

The Gies have written many, many books on the middle ages, many of which grace our bookshelves. Sound scholarship, based on the records of real human beings, combined with lively writing bring the people of the middle ages to vivid life. This one focuses on 12th century life in Chepstow Castle on the Welsh border.

We also recommend the Gies' Life in a Medieval City and Life in a Medieval Village.