The Shock of the Old
Philip Wilkinson
Channel Four Books
192 pages

This books comes as a companion to the recent Channel 4 series of the same name, in which Piers Gough strolled around the heritage sites of Britain explaining that, although we may find modern architecture shocking, historic buildings which we know and love were equally new and dumbfounding when they were built.

Writing in a rather breathless style, Wilkinson concentrates as much on the builders as designers, and rattles through 2000 years of British building at a dizzying, but enjoyable, pace. It's a little odd, however, that having detailed the iconoclastic, buildings of the past, the modern choices are so conservative.