Speaking of Walls...

January 9, 2019 | Bill V.

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Whether you agree or don't agree with President Trump's views, talk of the wall (and more recently the fence) is reverberating in the United States right now.

Donald Trump's idea is not new however, so I thought folks might be interested in some other walls. 

Adult Books on Walls:

Walls  a history of civilization in blood and brick

Walls: A History of Civilization in Blood and Brick

"A survey of walls throughout history and their role in shaping society."


Do good fences make good neighbors  what history teaches us about strategic barriers and international security

Do Good Fences Make Good Neighbors? What History Teaches Us About Strategic Barriers and International Security

"A number of nations, conspicuously Israel and the United States, have been increasingly attracted to the use of strategic barriers to promote national defense. In Do Good Fences Make Good Neighbors?, defense analyst Brent Sterling examines the historical use of strategic defenses such as walls or fortifications to evaluate their effectiveness and consider their implications for modern security. Sterling studies six famous defenses spanning 2,500 years, representing both democratic and authoritarian regimes: the Long Walls of Athens, Hadrian's Wall in Roman Britain, the Ming Great Wall of China, Louis XIV's Pré Carré, France's Maginot Line, and Israel's Bar Lev Line. Although many of these barriers were effective in the short term, they also affected the states that created them in terms of cost, strategic outlook, military readiness, and relations with neighbors."


Walls  travels along the barricades

Walls: Travels Along the Barricades

"Marcello Di Cintio travels to the world's most disputed edges to meet the people who live alongside the razor wire and answer the question: What does it mean to live against the walls? Di Cintio shares tea with Saharan refugees on the wrong side of Morocco's desert wall. He meets with illegal Punjabi migrants who have circumvented the fencing around the Spanish enclave of Ceuta. He visits fenced-in villages in northeast India, walks Arizona's migrant trails, and travels to Palestinian villages to witness the protests against Israel's security barrier. From Native American reservations on the US-Mexico border and the "Great Wall of Montreal" to Cyprus's divided capital and the Peace Lines of Belfast, Di Cintio seeks to understand what these structures say about those who build them and how they influence the cultures that they surround. Some walls define "us" from "them" with medieval clarity. Some walls encourage fear or feed hate. Others kill. And every wall inspires its own subversion, whether by the infiltrators who dare to go over, under or around them, or by the artists who transform them."


Borderwall as architecture  a manifesto for the U.S.-Mexico boundary

Borderwall as Architecture: A Manifesto for the U.S.-Mexico Boundary

"Borderwall as Architecture is an account of the barrier that divides the United States of America from the United States of Mexico. It is an historical account, a protest against the wall, and a projection about its future through a series of propositions that suggest that the wall in its conception is an opportunity for economic and social development along the border."

Against the wall  the art of resistance in Palestine

Against the Wall: The Art of Resistance in Palestine

"Featuring the work of artists Banksy, Ron English, Blu, and others, this stunning book of photographs captures the graffiti and art that have transformed Israel's wall into a living canvas of resistance and solidarity."


Fandango at the Wall  creating harmony between the United States and Mexico

Fandango at the Wall: Creating Harmony Between the United States and Mexico"

"It's a history that has involved many periods of great friendship with robust trade and loose immigration policies. But the US-Mexican relationship has also been beset by wars, drug trade, and human trafficking. And with the latest Trump-induced xenophobia towards Mexico this book contextualizes how it is the latest swing in the up-and-down two-hundred-year history between these countries. THROUGH THESE WALLS also addresses how the broken relationship between these countries have been repaired in the past and will provide clarity to the current debate regarding building the wall and America's posture towards immigrants."

The line becomes a river  dispatches from the border

The Line Becomes a River: Dispatches From the Border

"For Francisco Cantú the border is in the blood: his mother, a park ranger and daughter of a Mexican immigrant, raised him in the scrublands of the Southwest. Haunted by the landscape of his youth, Cantú joins the Border Patrol. He and his partners are posted to remote regions crisscrossed by drug routes and smuggling corridors, where they learn to track other humans under blistering sun and through frigid nights."


You may also be interested in these titles:


Children's Books on Walls:

Talking walls discover your world

Talking Walls: Discover Your World 

"An illustrated description of walls around the world and their significance, from the Great Wall of China to the Berlin Wall."




"All sorts of walls. Social walls, border walls, political walls, emotional walls, big walls, and small walls too. Speaking to today's critical political issues, this delightful, charmingly illustrated children's book has resonance for adults too. It helps children learn and understand inclusivity, equality, openness, and kindness while simultaneously reminding grown-ups of those same values. A timely and timeless message."


The wall in the middle of the book

The Wall in the Middle of the Book 

"A knight who feels secure on his side of the wall that divides his book discovers that his side is not as safe as he thought, and the other side is not as threatening."



Hey  wall  a story of art and community

Hey, Wall: A Story of Art and Community 

"Armed with pencils, paints, dreams, and Grandma Addy's memories of how beautiful the neighborhood once was, Angel and others paint the big wall that had been cold, empty, and cheerless."


The Wall

The Wall 

"A boy and his father come from far away to visit the Vietnam War Memorial in Washington and find the name of the boy's grandfather, who was killed in the conflict."


The Great Wall of China:


The Great Wall  China against the world  1000 BC-AD 2000

The Great Wall: China Against the World, 1000 BC-AD 2000

"A new and important history of the epic story of the Great Wall of China that guides the reader through the conquests and cataclysms of the Chinese empire, from the second millennium BC the present day. Over 2,200 years old and 4,300 miles long, the Great Wall of China has made an overwhelmingly confident physical statement about the country it spans: about China's age-old sense of being an advanced civilization anxious to draw a clear line between itself and the barbarians at its borders. But behind the wall's intimidating exterior -- and the myths that have clustered around it -- is a complex history that has both defined and undermined China. It is this history that Julia Lovell explores in her enthralling book. The Great Wall is an epic tale that stretches over two millennia as it follows the rise and fall of the great Chinese ruling dynasties. Full of astonishing details and extraordinary characters -- from emperors to engineers, statesmen to soldiers -- this is essential reading for anyone who wants to understand China's past, present, and future."


The history of the great wall in 50 objects

The History of the Great Wall in 50 Objects

"William Lindesay selects fifty artefacts from around the world to tell the story of the Great Wall from the second century BC to the late-twentieth century. Abraham Ortelius' pioneering world atlas, the unexpected origins of 'wolf smoke', the proliferation of the blunderbuss in the fifteenth century Great Wall theatre of war, even Kafka's classic short story 'At the Building of the Great Wall' are some of the unique objects that were shaped by China's most famous national landmark. Enhanced by stories of their discovery, and those of their modern-day keepers, The Great Wall in 50 Objects is a personal and historical exploration of a world wonder."


There are some titles in Chinese on the Great Wall as well:


There are also some DVDs on the Great Wall of China:

The Great Wall of China DVD

China's Great Wall: The Definitive History Shot in High-Definition (DVD)


There are also many children's books on the Great Wall of China:

Great Wall of China

The Great Wall of China Structural Wonders (children's book) by Christine Webster


The Great Wall of China

The Great Wall of China (children's book) by Rachel Lynette


Hadrian's Wall:

Moving to the other side of the world there's also lots of interesting reads about Hadrian's Wall, the Roman wall built in the north of England. It's also a popular tourist site and there are several guidebooks to it.

Hadrian's Wall

Hadrian's Wall

"A definitive history of Hadrian's Wall. Stretching eighty miles from coast to coast across northern England, Hadrian's Wall is the largest Roman artifact known today. It is commonly viewed as a defiant barrier, the end of the empire, a place where civilization stopped and barbarism began. In fact, the massive structure remains shrouded in mystery. Was the wall intended to keep out the Picts, who inhabited the North? Or was it merely a symbol of Roman power and wealth? What was life like for soldiers stationed along its expanse? How was the extraordinary structure built-with what technology, skills, and materials?"


Hadrian's Wall  archaeology and history at the limit of Rome's empire

Hadrian's Wall: Archaeology and History at the Limit of Rome's Empire:

"Built around AD 122, Hadrian's Wall was guarded by the Roman army for over three centuries and has left an indelible mark on the landscape of northern Britain. It was a wonder of the ancient world and is a World Heritage Site. Written by a leading archaeologist who has excavated widely on the Wall, this is an authoritative yet accessible treatment of the archaeological evidence. The book explains why the expansion of the Roman empire ground to a halt in remote northern Britain, how the Wall came to be built and the purpose it was intended to serve. It is not a guidebook to the remains, but an introduction to the Wall and the soldiers and civilians, men, women and children, who once peopled the abandoned ruins visited by tourists today."


Journey to Britannia  from the heart of Rome to Hadrian's Wall  AD 130

Journey to Britannia: From the Heart of Rome to Hadrian's Wall, AD 130

"It is AD 130. Rome is the dazzling heart of a vast empire and Hadrian its most complex and compelling ruler. Faraway Britannia is one of the Romans' most troublesome provinces: here the sun is seldom seen and 'the atmosphere in the country is always gloomy'. What awaits the traveller to Britannia? How will you get there? What do you need to pack? What language will you speak? How does London compare to Rome? Are there any tourist attractions? And what dangers lurk behind Hadrian's new Wall? Combining an extensive range of Greek and Latin sources with a sound understanding of archaeology, Bronwen Riley describes an epic journey from Rome to Hadrian's Wall at Britannia's - and the empire's - northwestern frontier. In this strikingly original snapshot of Roman Britain, she brings vividly to life the smells, sounds, colours and textures of travel in the second century AD."

There are even some DVDs that have visual material on the wall.

And there are many more general titles on Roman Britain:


The Berlin Wall:


The Berlin Wall  a world divided  1961-1989

The Berlin Wall: A World Divided, 1961-1989

"On the morning of August 13, 1961, the residents of East Berlin found themselves cut off from family, friends and jobs in the West by a tangle of barbed wire that ruthlessly cut a city of four million in two. Within days the barbed-wire entanglement would undergo an extraordinary metamorphosis: it became an imposing 103-mile-long wall guarded by three hundred watchtowers. A physical manifestation of the struggle between Soviet Communism and American capitalism--totalitarianism and freedom--that would stand for nearly thirty years, the Berlin Wall was the high-risk fault line between East and West on which rested the fate of all humanity."


The collapse the accidental opening of the Berlin Wall

The Collapse: The Accidental Opening of the Berlin Wall

"Historian Mary Elise Sarotte shows that the opening of the Berlin Wall on November 9, 1989, was not, as is commonly believed, the East German government's deliberate concession to outside influence. It was an accident. A carelessly worded memo written by mid-level bureaucrats, a bumbling press conference given by an inept member of the East German Politburo, the negligence of government leaders, the bravery of ordinary people in East and West Berlin--these combined to bring about the end of nearly forty years of oppression, fear, and enmity in divided Berlin."


When the wall came down the Berlin Wall and the fall of Soviet communism

When the Wall Came Down: The Berlin Wall and the Fall of Soviet Communism (children's book)

"This is history as only an eyewitness can tell it. In 1989, veteran journalist Serge Schmemann was in his hotel room when his assistant from East Germany burst in with some incredible news: the Berlin Wall was open. Serge jumped into the first cab he could find and raced to the wall in time to witness one of the great moments of European history. Including articles from the archives of The New York Times, this gripping narrative tells the whole story, from the division of Germany after World War II, to life in the Communist East, to the massive protests that brought an end to the Eastern Bloc, and the fall of the Berlin Wall."



The Wall (children's book)

"Follows a small boy and his family as they try to reunite with his father after the Berlin Wall is built."


The balloon sailors

The Balloon Sailors (children's book)

"When King Frack and King Frick divide their kingdom with a tall wall, Tamala and her brother send balloon messages over the wall to their beloved grandmother. Then Tamala decides her family can reach their grandmother the same way: in a hot-air balloon! The family gathers all the materials they will need: cloth for the balloon, straw for the basket. But where to find a gas burner? With spies everywhere, their work is extremely perilous."


Rise and Fall of the Berlin Wall DVD

Rise and Fall of the Berlin Wall (DVD)

"Computer-generated imagery, re-enactments, archival footage, and expert commentary provide political and historical context while helping to illustrate how construction progressed over time - and how it was suddenly demolished by civilians in 1989."


Behind the Wall DVD

Behind the Wall (DVD)


Burning down the Haus punk rock  revolution  and the fall of the Berlin Wall

Burning Down the Haus: Punk Rock, Revolution, and the Fall of the Berlin Wall

"It began with a handful of East Berlin teens who heard the Sex Pistols on a British military radio broadcast to troops in West Berlin, and it ended with the collapse of the East German dictatorship. Punk rock was a life-changing discovery. The buzz-saw guitars, the messed-up clothing and hair, the rejection of society and the DIY approach to building a new one: in their gray surroundings, where everyone's future was preordained by some communist apparatchik, punk represented a revolutionary philosophy--quite literally, as it turned out."


Berlin calling  a story of anarchy  music  the Wall  and the birth of the new Berlin

Berlin Calling: A Story of Anarchy, Music, the Wall, and the Birth of the New Berlin

"An exhilarating journey through the subcultures, occupied squats, and late-night scenes in the anarchic first few years of Berlin after the fall of the Wall. Berlin Calling is a gripping account of the 1989 'peaceful revolution' in East Germany that upended communism and the tumultuous years of artistic ferment, political improvisation, and pirate utopias that followed. It's the story of a newly undivided Berlin when protest and punk rock, bohemia and direct democracy, techno and free theater were the order of the day."

Build Your Own Wall:

Now, just in case you personally were interested in building a wall, I thought I would leave you with the following titles.

How to build dry-stacked stone walls design and build walls  bridges and follies without mortar

How to Build Dry-Stacked Stone Walls: Design and Build Walls, Bridges and Follies Without Mortar

"How to Build Dry-Stacked Stone Walls shows how to build a wall using the traditional method of dry stone masonry in which carefully selected stones are properly stacked and held together without mortar. As well as being beautiful, a dry stone wall is stronger, more stable, and more resistant to climate than a mortared wall."

Stone building  how to make New England-style walls and other structures

Stone Building: How to Make New England-Style Walls and Other Structures

"In Stone Building, Kevin Gardner distills his decades of experience building and maintaining iconic New England-style stone walls into this concise, informative guide. Gardner offers step-by-step instructions for building everything from flagstone walkways to classic patios and ornate fire pits."

Wall  at Storm King

Wall At Storm King

"Documents the British photographer Andy Goldsworthy latest artwork -- a 2,278 - foot stone wall at Storm King Arts Center, New York. Stunning color photographs show the wall from every vantage point & in all four seasons, as well as documenting ephemeral work made around it."


Black & Decker the complete guide to garden walls & fences

Black & Decker The Complete Guide to Garden Walls & Fences: Improve Backyard Environments, Enhance Privacy & Enjoyment, Define Space & Borders.

"Includes classic favorites like picket and panel fences, as well as regional variations, like Virginia split rail fences and dry-fit stone garden walls. Also provides information on some of the latest materials, such as new variations on PVC vinyl and polymer coated, wrought-iron look-alikes and even an invisible electronic dog fence."

Walks  patios & walls

Walks, Patios and Walls


Walled gardens

Walled Gardens

"The walled garden was once an essential component of every country house, its shelter providing ideal conditions for growing food, flowers and medicine. This book from the National Trust looks at walled gardens throughout England and Wales and explores their history, innovative design and cultural heritage. Walled gardens are a feature of British gardening history. In the late 18th century, gardens became status symbols, with aristocrats vying to grow ever more exotic fruits--ushering in innovations such as glasshouses and even heated walls. With the First and Second World Wars many of these gardens fell into disrepair, but renovated ones feature at many key National Trust properties and remain a source of pride and fascination today."


Concrete formwork

Concrete Formwork

"Provides valuable information on the construction and safe assembly and disassembly of formwork for residential, light commercial, and heavy commercial structures. Various aspects of concrete construction methods are presented in sequence, from site preparation through concrete placement and stripping forms."


Reinforced Concrete Design A Practical Approach

Reinforced Concrete Design: A Practical Approach


Building codes illustrated  a guide to understanding the 2018 International Building Code

Building Codes Illustrated: A Guide to Understanding the 2018 International Building Code