Edinburgh is, in our humble opinion, the best city on Earth. It has absolutely everything going for it: a vast depth and wealth of history; a fascinating topography; a remarkable built environment that reflects both its geography and its history; and an amazing character. Well okay, perhaps not quite everything, it can also summon up, all too frequently, a chill wind that feels like it wants to cut right through you, and rain is not unknown in the city. But on a sunny day, there really is nowhere else in the world that can quite rival Edinburgh.
The rear cover of the book tells prospective readers that "Edinburgh in 50 Buildings explores the history of this rich and vibrant city through a selection of its greatest architectural treasures. From the elegance of the neoclassical and Georgian New Town to the controversial Parliament Building, this unique study celebrates the city's architectural heritage in a new and accessible way. Local author Jack Gillon guides the reader on a tour of the city's historic buildings and modern architectural marvels."
If you wander into any bookshop in Edinburgh, a look at the "local interest" section will show there is no shortage of books about the city. These come in all shapes and sizes, covering all aspects of the city from its history to its built environment. The obvious question arises: is there really value to be added by another book looking at the buildings of Edinburgh? The answer, on the basis of the contents of "Edinburgh in 50 Buildings" is "yes". What you get is a very brief introduction, and then a series of sections looking at, as you would expect from the title, fifty buildings in Edinburgh.
The book is arranged geographically. It starts with Edinburgh Castle (and St Margaret's Chapel and the Scottish National War Memorial, both within the walls of the castle), before taking the reader on a wander down the Royal Mile, taking in famous landmarks such as St Giles Kirk and the Palace of Holyroodhouse; together with perhaps less well-known ones such as Ramsay Gardens, Acheson House and Whitehorse Close. Helpful text gives the background, and is illustrated by excellent images, both historical and modern. The reader is then taken north through the New Town to Leith, before jumping back to pick up the story on the southern side of the Old Town, and moving south across the rest of the city. In our view the result is a book that will be of use to anyone visiting or living in the city. All the usual suspects are included, so there will be no visitors disappointed that they missed something really important by relying on the book. On the other hand, there's a lot here that is different and interesting, which ensures the book is of value even to those of us who feel we know Edinburgh well.