About twice a month, the Daily Beast Travel section features some of the best (and most beautiful) coffee table books that focus on travel in a series called Just Booked. We’ve rounded up the eight you should have with you to showcase and appreciate the beauty that is all around you, from brutalist architecture to intricate library ceilings to the most influential maps ever created.
Theater of the World: The Maps That Made History by Thomas Reinertsen Berg, $35 on Amazon: “The book gets its name from Flemish cartographer Abraham Ortelius's atlas Theatrum orbis terrarum (Theater of the World). Like Ortelius, Berg has built upon generations of work and woven it into a digestible dive into everything from cartography to illustration and mapmaking. While not as hefty as some of our past selections, this mid-size book may be the most likely to cause you to lose a guest in its pages.” - Read More Here
California Captured: Mid-Century Modern Architecture by by Emily Bills, Sam Lubell, and Pierluigi Serraino, $31 on Amazon: “One of the best at documenting the explosion of this style in California after World War II was the photographer Marvin Rand. The book overflows with Rand’s gorgeous images capturing the aesthetic in all its simple So Cal glory.” - Read More Here
Art Deco Chicago: Designing Modern America by Robert Bruegmann, $49 on Amazon: “The book is, quite simply, fantastic. It’s a deep dive into not just the explosion in Art Deco architecture, but also its effects in fashion and industrial design. Some pages will leave you wistful for masterpieces that have been destroyed, while other hidden gems highlighted in it will have you adding them to your architecture bucket list.” - Read More Here
Alexander von Humboldt and the Botanical Exploration of the Americas by H. Walter Lack, $41 on Amazon: “Lack, a renowned German botanist, fills the pages with a serious (and not always flattering) look at Humboldt’s legacy in science. The book has beautiful illustrations of his journeys, including when he climbed what was then believed to be the world’s tallest peak, Chimborazo in Ecuador. The real gems in the book, however, are the richly colored prints of artistic renderings of the plants he documented along the way, as well as photographs of the specimens he retained for study in Europe.” - Read More Here
Battlefields by Yan Morvan, $76 on Amazon: “The book is a compilation of the photojournalist’s work over a decade photographing 238 of history’s most important battlefields—covering everything from the Persian Wars to modern day Libya. In total, the book features 430 of his photos. Some show still-scarred fields of conflict, while others are now bucolic pastoral landscapes that bely little of their bloody past.” - Read More Here
Massimo Listri, The World’s Most Beautiful Libraries Text by Georg Ruppelt & Elisabeth Sladek, $139 on Amazon: “This giant book (roughly 11” x 15” and weighing in at what feels like a dozen pounds) features majestic photographs by Italian photographer Massimo Listri. He focuses mostly on Medieval, Renaissance, Baroque, Rococo, and Neoclassical European libraries and a handful of their descendants in the Americas. (Given how breathtaking Listri’s work is, one hopes there will be a follow-up volume on modern libraries around the globe.) From out-of-the-way phantasmagorical wonders like the libraries of Metten and Ulm to the dramatic Real Gabinete Português de Leitura in Rio de Janeiro, Listri captures these man-made wonders in all their splendor” - Read More Here
Atlas of Brutalist Architecture by Phaidon Editors, $102 on Amazon: “More than 850 of what the editors have deemed the world's finest Brutalist buildings are included. The big names are all there—Breuer, Corbusier, Niemeyer—but so too are ones that aren't as familiar to mainstream audiences like Ernő Goldfinger. So, too, do modern day architects working in the style get a shoutout—Herzog & de Meuron, Jean Nouvel, and, yes, Zaha Hadid.” - Read More Here
Life Along the Hudson: The Historic Country Estates of the Livingston Family by Pieter Estersohn, $58 on Amazon: “Estersohn's photographs are beautiful—capturing each of these historic properties in, literally, their best light. Even ones that have definitely seen better days, like Staatsburgh, are shown in the glory they once commanded. Thirty-five properties in total are featured, enough for anybody to fall in love and add one to their dream Hudson River trip.” - Read More Here
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