By Sara E. Wermiel, W.W. Norton & Company, $75.00, 358 pages

10All black and white photos and complete with a CD, Lighthouses takes a sterile look at the different styles and different materials used to build these mesmerizing wonders of illumination. Each page is a tribute to the majesty of these solemn beacons, and the result is a pleasant read to satiate an alluring desire for trivial knowledge about these monuments of light. Sara E. Wermiel meticulously documents each of their locations, erection dates, architects or designers and any notable facts on their history, purpose, and intent for their different forms. From Fire Island Lighthouse in New York to the Diamond Head Lighthouse in Hawaii, each one is vetted and honored in its own way, giving creed to the workmanship it represents. There is even an entire chapter on the various ships that came into their harbors and how the lighthouses were built to be seen by those types of ships.

This book should be prominently displayed in every beach house, or would make a great gift for the sailor (or wannabe) in your life. But be prepared to lose your guest for a few hours to this fascinating book on history and lighthouses!

Reviewed by M. Chris Johnson,