This is a fascinating introduction to the Christian monastery and the life within. Not heavy on doctrine or theology, it instead focuses on the origins of monastic life and rules, as well as on the buildings themselves. And, boy, does it do the buildings in spades! The bulk of this very bulky book is photos of exteriors and interiors of some of the most beautiful old-world buildings. We also learn a bit about the important characters in certain monasteries and monastic orders, and there is a bit of discussion of different works of art, but the primary focus is how monasteries looked and were operated. Highly recommended if you're interested in this sort of thing.