Editor's Choice

Editor's Choice

October 26, 2003|By Michael Pakenham

Tilt: A Skewed History of the Tower of Pisa, by Nicholas Shrady. Simon & Schuster. 192 pages. $21.95.

A shrewd little combination history, travelogue and architecture / engineering analysis of what must be Earth's pre-eminent weird building. To make the point, the publisher has manufactured the volume on the bias -- the spine rises at a 15-degree tilt from the vertical, though the Tower of Pisa itself, today, leans only 5 degrees, and leaned 1.6 degrees when built in 1370. The structure -- actually a campanile, a bell tower -- has challenged, worried, delighted and angered technicians and aesthetes for all the 520-some years of its life. It has stood, and increasingly tilted, through so much of the history of post-medieval Europe that this book could have filled volumes, but Shrady, an accomplished architecture critic and writer, keeps tight focus -- and the events and arguments are often rollicking.

Baltimore Sun Articles
|
|
|
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.