... always clear and lively prose ... Though all this is rather winning, one can’t help wondering what Euclidean geometry, the discipline of it, really had to do with laying out a garden. Mr. Alexander has a notable facility for drawing together three disparate realms of experience: the personal circumstances of his main characters; the political tensions of their times; and the designs they commissioned, especially garden layouts and urban street plans. Yet readers may find his principal argument enveloped in a haze of perplexities. He offers no support for the contention that Euclidean reasoning was enlisted in garden design or city planning (though such evidence, if it exists, would be interesting). After all, ancient Persian gardens were devised on geometrical plans long before Euclid, and this type of garden later became standard all over the Islamic world, from India to Andalusia ... And in what sense was the Euclidean demand for proof, a word that provides the title of Mr. Alexander’s book, necessary at all for garden design? What, logically speaking, was to be proved? Weren’t the pretty roses a sort of Q.E.D. in themselves? ... just as he conflates the clean visual syntax of geometrical design with the mathematical authority of Euclid, so he confuses design as an emblem of political power with the notion of design as a positive legitimating factor.
... lively ... bracingly enthusiastic ... The book isn’t overrun with mathematics, but when it is unavoidable, the author is clear in his language ... A deep immersion into geometric determinism at its most entertaining.