While communism, collectivism, worms, dry rot and casual looting failed to destroy the majestic wooden churches of Russia, it may be ordinary neglect that finally does them in. Dwindled now to several hundred remaining examples, these glories of vernacular architecture lie scattered amid the vastness of the world’s largest country. Just over a decade ago, Richard Davies, a British architectural photographer, struck out on a mission to record the fragile and poetic structures. Austerely beautiful and haunting, “Wooden Churches: Traveling in the Russian North” (White Sea Publishing; $132) is the result. Covering thousands of miles, Mr. Davies described how he and the writer Matilda Moreton tracked down the survivors from among the thousands of onion-domed structures built after Prince Vladimir converted to Christianity in 988.