Fall Forum 2017: Fallen Glory: The Lives and Deaths of History’s Greatest Buildings

Author James Crawford
Fallen Glory: The Lives and Deaths of History’s Greatest Buildings

James Crawford works for Scotland’s National Collection of architecture and archaeology. Born in the Shetlands in 1978, he studied History and Philosophy of Law at the University of Edinburgh, winning the Lord President Cooper Memorial
Prize. He has previously written a number of photographic books including Above Scotland: The National Collection of
Aerial Photography, Victorian Scotland, Scotland’s Landscapes, and Aerofilms: A History of Britain from Above.
In 2013, he wrote and acted as design consultant on Telling Scotland’s Story, a graphic novel guide to Scottish
Archaeology.

Buildings are just like us. They can be born into wealth or poverty; enjoying every privilege or struggling to make ends
meet. They have parents – gods, kings, emperors, governments, visionaries and madmen – and friends and
enemies. They have jobs, duties and responsibilities. They can endure crises of faith and purpose. They can succeed
and fail. They can live. And they can die. Moving from the very beginnings of civilization, right up to the digital horizons of cyberspace, Jamie Crawford pieces together the biographies of twenty of the world’s most fascinating lost and ruined structures. The lives of these buildings are packed with drama and intrigue – soap operas combining war and religion, politics and art, love and betrayal, catastrophe and hope. They are also the stage for a startling array of characters – including Gilgamesh, the Cretan Minotaur, Agamemnon, Julius Caesar, Genghis Khan, Henry VIII, Catherine the Great, Adolf Hitler and even Bruce Springsteen.
Travelling from the deserts of Iraq, the banks of the Nile, the grasslands of the Mongolian steppes and the cloud forests of Peru, to the great cities of Jerusalem, Istanbul, Paris, Rome, London and New York, Fallen Glory is a unique, globetrotting guide to a world of vanished architecture. And, by picking through the fragments of our past, it asks what history’s scattered ruins can tell us about our own future.