Brief Atlas of the Lighthouses at the End of the World

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Pub Date 02 Apr 2024 | Archive Date 01 Apr 2024

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A unique illustrated exploration of our favorite oceanic beacons and their haunted histories.

There is something beautiful and wild in the impossible architecture of lighthouses. These precariously perched structures have been the homes and workplaces of keepers whose romantic guardianship has saved countless lives from cruel seas. While that way of life may have faded away, as the lights go out and the buildings crumble, we still have their stories.

This collection of more than thirty tales spans the heights and depths of human experience: the blind lighthouse keeper tending a light in the Arctic Circle, the intrepid young woman saving ships from wreck beginning at just age twelve, the desperate plight of a crew cut off for forty days with meager supplies, the lighthouse haunted by the clacking sound of a long-passed keeper’s ghostly typewriter.

Interweaving literary inspiration and elements from Jules Verne, Virginia Woolf, and Edgar Allan Poe and accompanied by beautiful illustrations, nautical charts, maps, architectural plans, and curious facts, these illuminating stories will transport the reader in a book as full of wonder as the far-flung lighthouses themselves.

A unique illustrated exploration of our favorite oceanic beacons and their haunted histories.

There is something beautiful and wild in the impossible architecture of lighthouses. These precariously...

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EDITION Hardcover
ISBN 9781797227474
PRICE $24.95 (USD)

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Average rating from 17 members

Featured Reviews

What incredible research for a writer that never lived on the Coast, growing up inland in Spain. The way he writes about the individual towers is what is so outstanding in this book! Jose Luis Gonzalez Macias has written this thought provoking study of these different towers. Each has its own remarkable story. This is a well written historical overview of the beacons of light for seafarers. I recommend this book to everyone who loves the oceans of the world.

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Lighthouses are so cool and this was so informative. I'd like to visit all of these places. I will note that the font in this book was a little hard to read when downloaded but that issue wont happen in a print copy

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A charming collection of lighthouses in very remote locations. Each lighthouse has a single-page overview, often with enlightening stories. Following this is a drawing of the lighthouse in its setting. Another page has a line drawing of the lighthouse with a summary of relevant information. Finally, there is a map showing the location of the light.

This is a new translation of a Spanish book written in 2020.

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What a smart book! I love the clean structure in how each lighthouse is presented: written exposition, drawing, diagram, location on map. The structure makes it easy to refer back to and make comparisons. I also enjoy the uniformly illustrated depictions of the lighthouses. Lighthouses can be difficult to photograph and I think the illustrations provide clean and accurate representations of each structure, tying the whole book together.

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This is a beautifully spare book about some of the more unique light houses in the world. Accompanied by pen and ink, sketches of each lighthouse, is the history and folklore of each structure. A delight for those who love history, and the ocean.

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This is the coffee table book of my dreams. Funny, informative, and beautiful to look at, this brief history of lighthouses around the world is a must have for any travel or architecture buff. Also perfect for anyone that likes beautiful and informative things. You can read it all at once or take it lighthouse by lighthouse over time. Excellent!

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Thank you Netgalley for the advance reader copy of Brief Atlas of the Lighthouses at the End of the World by José Luis Gonzalez Marcías in exchange for an honest review. This book is beautiful. I have always been fascinated with lighthouses and wanted to live in one and be a lighthouse keeper, but it's not an easy job to find.

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This is a beautifully illustrated book about the history of lighthouses. It will of course be of interest to people who enjoy lighthouses, but it is also enjoyable for those interested in history, geography, engineering, the human condition, and the way that civilization marches onward. Each lighthouse has a brief history, a beautiful illustration, a more technical illustration, and a map showing where it is located in the world. A very interesting little book!

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I’ve learn so much about lighthouses thanks to this book. For example, did you know that they don’t always look alike? And that now basically no one lives in there anymore?
And yes, they are creepy as the seem, especially in the dark of the night.

Thanks to Chronicle Books and NetGalley, who provided me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest opinion.

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Who doesn't love lighthouses? I had a sister-in-law who collected them, and I would go out of my way to find extra gifts for her because lighthouses are so interesting.
Anyone who really feels intrigued by lighthouses will probably enjoy this book. It's simply a selection of lighthouse entries, with brief descriptions and histories. The pictures include drawings and maps showing where the lighthouses are located. I would have enjoyed some prettier pictures, but the book is still amazing as is.
Before reading this, it never occurred to me how different lighthouses could be and how difficult it could be to maintain a lighthouse on difficult terrain. The author does an amazing job pointing out unusual things that happened with individual lighthouses and events that occurred over time.
Thanks to NetGalley for letting me read this

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I have recently become infatuated with light houses. This was a perfect quick read with facts and info on many lighthouses I didn't even know existed. The maps and drawings are a nice touch. Thanks to Netgalley for the opportunity to read this ARC.

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Brief Atlas of Lighthouses at the End of the World by Jose Luis Gonzalez Macias was an enjoyable collection of forgotten lighthouses of years gone by. The pictures are more artwork than photos as they are pixelated versions, but still quite fascinating. I loved the intricate and detailed information found regarding each lighthouse. Building plans, when they were erected, when they went out of commission and old tales, legends, and stories associated with them. I did love the literary correlation to each chapter as well. I found this to be a great source of information while appreciating the collection of details to bring each lighthouse back to life, if even in a memory. I found it to be a creative approach and a way to honor those who gave endlessly, and sometimes sacrificially, of themselves to help protect others.
I received a complimentary copy from the publisher via NetGalley and all opinions expressed are solely my own, freely given.

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Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for letting me review this book. The drawings of the various lighthouses were great. I do wish they had photos as well. I enjoy reading a bit of history on what is he each lighthouse. It’s interesting to see how the lighthouses were all designed different. I think most people have it in their mind if how a lighthouse looks.

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Let's not over-complicate this. This is how Brief Atlas of the Lighthouses at the End of the World by José Luis González Macías goes:

1. One page history of a super cool lighthouse
2. Super cool sketch of a super cool lighthouse
3. Super cool metrics about the super cool lighthouse
4. Map showing where the super cool lighthouse is/was which is usually in the middle of nowhere somewhere on Earth

Do you like lighthouses? Of course you do. Read this book.

(This book was provided as an advance copy by Netgalley and Chronicle Books.)

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I’m not quite sure what made me want to read a book about lighthouses. But whatever that impulse to request this book was, I’m glad it happened. Because apparently there’s a part of me that’s really fascinated by the idea of these beacons in the dangerous unfriendly waters, the places where lives of their caretakers are always threatened by the surroundings, where solitude can be suffocating by cutting you off from the rest of the world for months at a time and the mind may slowly go insane. These are not the places for the faint-hearted, and are not the peaceful refuges from the world they may seem at the first glance.

And yet there’s stark beauty in these outposts of civilizations aimed to protect lives from danger and deaths, the warning and guiding light in the dark. There’s enough love for them to have people who grew up as children of lighthouse keepers willingly take on these jobs for themselves.

“A Brief Atlas of the Lighthouses at the End of the World” by José Luis González Macías is a collection of brief pieces about 34 different remote lighthouses as well as some brief one-page anecdotes about them throughout their histories — a blind lighthouse keeper, a young woman saving multiple people from death, cats brought to a small island by a lighthouse keeper annihilating the newly discovered species of birds, a keeper having to share space with his mysteriously deceased colleague, storms and wrecks and deaths — plus some drawings and brief details.

Many of these lighthouses are crumbling, others have been automated, and there are all kinds of modern inventions that have replaced the need fulfilled in the past by these lighthouses — but while they are still standing, they still can show us the strange allure of lonely beauty of these places.


Thanks to NetGalley and Chronicle Books for providing me with a digital ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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What a winner this book is. If you like lighthouses, this one is for you. You will never look at one in the same way again.

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