From reading this book it is clear that what we mean by the term `castle' today is not the same as the medieval concept of what a castle was. Approaching castle architecture as a historian would approach ecclsiastical architecture, Abigail Wheatley argues that the castle was deeply ingrained within medieval culture and it had a much wider meaning beyond the obvious feat of military engineering. Her study explores the origins of the term and idea of a castle, and suggests what it stood for in medieval society, why it appeared in literature, art, wihin sermons, depicted on seals, within foundation legends and why it was used to promote the image of towns and cities. In addressing the `ideal', `urban'. `spiritual' and `imperial' castle, she considers this perhaps misunderstood architectural type from a more symbolic, aesthetic, ideological and mythological angle, where it represented not just protection and defence, but also ideas such as communal identity, pride and prestige.