A bunch of baths books:
some of the better books on baths
published during the life of this website


This is a single frame, printer-friendly page taken from

one of the linked parts of an article published on Malcolm Shifrin's website

Victorian Turkish Baths: their origin, development, and gradual decline


Original page with links



List of noticed books

1913: Design of the Turkish bath / Cosgrave   2003: Turkish baths / Yılmazkaya
  2004: Victoria Baths / Williams
2005: Hammams / Meunier   2006: Water is best / Durie
2010: Hammaming in the Sham / Boggs




A quite delightful travel book


Cathedrals of the flesh


Alexia Brue, visiting a hammam in Paris, feels inspired to open one in New York and, wondering how to go about this, sets off on a tour of baths round the world taking in Turkey, Greece, Russia, Finland, and Japan.

It's a thoroughly delightful, often amusing, account of Alexia's search for the perfect bath. Once started, the book is difficult to put down; by the end, you not only know a bit more about her 'on hold' relationship with Charles, and want to know even more about her fascinating putative business partner Marina, but you have painlessly absorbed as much information as you could want to know about the differing characteristics of a variety of national public baths. Along the way, you will also have met a number of characters who are not easy to forget, and you will have a guide to which baths to use and which to avoid—of not inconsiderable benefit to one visiting Turkey who, like Alexia, is warned to avoid the 'unhygienic' baths in Istanbul.

Alexia Brue


Cathedrals of the flesh is Alexia Brue's first book, although she has previously written for The New York Times Magazine, Vogue, and Spa Finder. The book is published in New York by Bloomsbury and is available from a variety of internet sources.

Cathedrals of the flesh is also published in the UK by Bloomsbury.

Alexia has her own website which includes reviews of the American edition, brief excerpts from each chapter, and the evocative line drawings by Lynda Reeves McIntyre which appear at the head of each chapter. The UK edition had an excellent full page review in the Guardian's Saturday review section.

Thoroughly recommended.

This page revised 14 November 2015


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