posted 06-15-2004 04:49 PM
I have totally forgotten to say what I thought about the ones I have bought:
Japanese Castles 15401 - 1640
Crusader Castles of the Teutonic Knights (1): the redbrick castles of Prussia
I find both books informative and nice. Both are written by Stephen Turnbull, who is a good writer and especially on Japan his the best authority on the subject outside Japan (two weeks ago I have bought his new book about the Samurai, which is very good and I can advice this book to every one who is interested in the subject: http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/1843402076/qid=1087329335/sr=2-2/ref=sr_2_3_2/202-7600875-7571039). He knows where is he talking about and you know it when reading it. Both books have been good illustrated (and it has many photo's in b/w and colour), and they have a good layout.
I bought the book about the Japanese castles because it is very difficult to find books about this subject. On the moment there are only two books worth concerning: the book from osprey and a book called "castles of the samurai". This latter one is in mine eyes just not appealing for what it offers (I have seen it last in the V&A museum in London, http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/4770029543/qid=1087329217/sr=1-1/ref=sr_1_8_1/202-7600875-7571039), too much blabla or measured in mine roughest criterium for books: too few pages for the price. The book of Osprey fortress is as said much nicer, and offers more for its price.
For the book about Prussia it is much the same story. It is difficult to get good books about it. The last good book in German is from somewhere in the 1980's and I can remember seeing it as a small boy lying in the bookstores in Germany, but my parents wouldn't buy it for me, because I already had bought another great book about castles.
So both books have been bought only because there is no "new good" alternative on the market about these specific subjects. Would I have bought these books from osprey if there were such alternatives, probably not. Because the osprey books are not going deep enough for me on the subject. In the fortress series are some books about Norman castles, they look nice and are informative. But I just know there are better books for me on the market about Norman castles. And then i prefer those books instead of the osprey books.
Also the osprey book are in some way too expensive for me. I mean if there were a little bit cheaper I would for example have bought the book about fortresses in the american civil war. Which I find interesting, but not interesting enough for the price. I prefer to spend my 'budget' on other books.
So to be conclusive: the books are nice, good illustrated, but not always deep enough (probably because they can only fill 63 pages) and in some way too expensive (most of the times you get much better/ more satisfactory books (deeper, more specific, much more pages (say 3/4 times more) on a specific subject for only double the price of an osprey book, and that I prefer)