Digest>Archives> Jul/Aug 2011

Book Review - Lighthouses: A Close-Up Look

By Timothy Harrison


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I can tell you right at the start that Lighthouses A Close Up Look is a book that I liked the minute I started to flip through its 175 glossy pages. The soft-cover book is loaded with stunning color images and sharp, crystal clear, back and white photographs that will bedazzle the lighthouse novice as well as the aficionado. Some of the close-up images show, in great detail, the inside as well as the outside of the structures. To top it off, they have included architectural drawings of each lighthouse featured.

While the editors may have gone to great efforts in the slick layout and design of the book, they didn’t work hard at doing any research. All the black and white images are easily available to anyone through the Library of Congress and, although they are absolutely stunning photographs, they are not vintage historic photos. They are modern era photographs that were taken for documentation by the Historic American Building Survey and include a sampling of lighthouses from all coastal areas, including Hawaii and Alaska. With the exception of Delaware’s Port Mahon Lighthouse, all the lighthouses featured in the book are still standing.

I was somewhat disappointed that they titled the chapter about the Scituate Lighthouse as Cedar Point Lighthouse. In fact when I first saw their press release about the book and it said that one of the lighthouses included in the book was Cedar Point, MA, I thought it was a typo and thought they meant Cedar Point Lighthouse, MD. No one I know, or have ever met in all my years of being involved with lighthouses, has ever called the Scituate Lighthouse the Cedar Point Lighthouse. It is confusing and, in my humble opinion that chapter of the book should have been titled differently.

Although I wish they had included a few photos of lighthouses keepers and a story or two about their lives at the lighthouses that was not the purpose of this book. Lighthouses A Close Up Look is meant to be a tour of a selected group of architecturally different and significant lighthouses, which is exactly what the editors of Fox Chapel Publishing accomplished.

Lighthouses A Close-Up Look is a book that will not go on my bookshelf, but instead will be one of the few lighthouse books that will be allowed on my coffee table for others to enjoy.

Lighthouses A Close-Up Look is available from www.FogHornPublishing.com for $19.95 plus shipping or by mail from Lighthouse Digest at P.O. Box 250, East Machias, ME 04630. You can also call 207-259-2121.

This story appeared in the Jul/Aug 2011 edition of Lighthouse Digest Magazine. The print edition contains more stories than our internet edition, and each story generally contains more photographs - often many more - in the print edition. For subscription information about the print edition, click here.

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