David Frye tells the story of all...sorts of barriers with eloquence and panache, from the third millennium B.C. to early modern times, when he deserts his ramparts and takes a Remus-like leap to the 20th-century. A comprehensive history of walls would take in even more topics: It might start with paleolithic drive lanes for game, and corrals that served as hunters’ aids; include the internal walls that often divided medieval cities; and cover the Enlightenment critique of city walls. A book about walls could even deal with alternatives to walls, such as bunkers in the Maori wars, or trenches and minefields. Mr. Frye’s book may be incomplete but he is enviably good at turning historical and archaeological evidence into vivid prose, and his writing is as clear as on any wall.
I will build a great wall — and nobody builds walls better than me, believe me.' That modest pledge to erect a fortification along the southern border of the US was a central feature of Donald Trump’s bid for the White House ... A few prototypes have appeared near San Diego...but beyond that there is, as yet, no Trump wall ... Whether it is built or not, the promised border fortification stands in a long tradition. People like walls. They project a language of security, but their construction stems from a sense of insecurity, an intense fear of losing what you have. David Frye’s book Walls is an exploration of how they have shaped cities and civilisations — and how they have failed.
Border walls are as old as civilization itself, and, whether made of brick, stone, or earth, their ruins appear all over the world. To the modern eye, writes professor of ancient and medieval history Frye , they have similar characteristics: obscure barriers, colorful nicknames, and 'nearly always facing desolate wastelands.' ... The book is helpfully peppered with maps and a time line for historical orientation and packs an impressive amount of scholarship and storytelling into its relatively compact perimeter. Walls could add a level of context to the current heated discussion of walls in the U.S.