Walls: A History of Civilization in Blood and Brick, by David Frye
In Walls historian David Frye tells the epic story of history’s greatest manmade barriers, from ancient times to the present. It is a haunting and frequently eye-opening saga - one that reveals a startling link between what we build and how we live.
The stars of this narrative are the walls themselves - rising up in places as ancient and exotic as Mesopotamia, Babylon, Greece, China, Rome, Mongolia, Afghanistan, the lower Mississippi and even Central America.
As we journey across time and place, we discover a hidden, thousand-mile-long wall in Asia’s steppes; learn of bizarre Spartan rituals; watch Mongol chieftains lead their miles-long hordes; witness the epic siege of Constantinople; chill at the fate of French explorers; marvel at the folly of the Maginot Line; tense at the gathering crisis in Cold War Berlin; gape at Hollywood’s gated royalty; and contemplate the wall mania of our own era.
Walls is alternately evocative, amusing, chilling, and deeply insightful as it gradually reveals the startling ways that barriers have affected our psyches. The questions this book summons are both intriguing and profound: Did walls make civilization possible? And can we live without them?
“[Told] with eloquence and panache . . . [Frye] is enviably good at turning historical and archaeological evidence into vivid prose, and his writing is as clear as on any wall.” - Wall Street Journal
“These are good stories and Frye tells them well...a timely and interesting book.” - Financial Times