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A Field Guide to American Houses (Revised): The Definitive Guide to Identifying and Understanding America's Domestic Architecture Paperback – November 10, 2015

4.8 out of 5 stars 1,012 ratings

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“The most authoritative dictionary of the language spoken by the built environment . . . McAlester’s book is excellent for the layperson who wants to wander about the neighborhood with a bit more authority, or perhaps for the homeowner who can’t decide what kind of windows might look best. It’s also useful to those of us who study preservation professionally, to bring our insistence that buildings are just as alive as plants—and just as worthy of careful, affectionate attention—into the broader cultural conversation about urban spaces. That conversation, in which the most mundane elements of building design are cast as characters in the story of a city, turns the streetscape into something greater than the brick and limestone it’s made of. It’s alive, noisy—and demands our close attention.”
 —Angela Serratore,
The New York Times Magazine


"Magisterial . . . The illustrated story of why our houses—great and humble and everything in between—look the way they do."
—Michael Tortorello,
The New York Times
 
"Once you've pored through Virginia McAlester's photo-packed bible of American home design, you'll be able to identify the saltboxes, Dutch colonials, and brownstones lining your own street, and you'll understand the historical significance of each one."
—Tina Jordan,
Entertainment Weekly
 
"The go-to resource for architecture spotters."
—Peter Terzian,
Elle Décor
 
"Chronicles the past 400 years of American styles, from wigwam to mobile to modern."
—Alexandra Wolfe,
The Wall Street Journal
 
"A classic."
—Pilar Viladas,
House Beautiful
 
"Encyclopedic . . . For lovers of historic homes, this is a rich trove of not just details, but reasons for them."
—Susan Clotfelter,
The Denver Post
 
"880 pages of scholarly wonder."
D Magazine
 
"The definitive guide to American housing styles."
—Jim Weiker,
The Columbus Dispatch
 
"Outstanding . . . Expanded and completely revised . . . Both scholars and average readers will find much to enjoy in this volume."
—Rebecca Vnuk,
Booklist (starred review)

About the Author

VIRGINIA McALESTER, was educated at Radcliffe and attended the Harvard Graduate School of Design. She is a founding member and past president of Preservation Dallas and also of Friends of Fair Park, the support group for a National Historic Landmark. She serves as an advisor emeritus for the National Trust for Historic Preservation. She is the author of The Making of a Historic District: Swiss Avenue, Dallas, Texas, a 40-page booklet "how-to" published by the National Trust in 1975 that historic groups across the country have used as a guide in creating their historic districts. She is coauthor of The Homes of the Park Cities, Dallas: Great American Suburbs.
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Product details

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Knopf; Expanded edition (November 10, 2015)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Paperback ‏ : ‎ 880 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 0375710825
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0375710827
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 3.4 pounds
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 6.8 x 1.6 x 9 inches
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.8 out of 5 stars 1,012 ratings

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Customer reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
4.8 out of 5
1,012 global ratings

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Top reviews from other countries

smartypants
5.0 out of 5 stars The detail, the detail!
Reviewed in the United Kingdom 🇬🇧 on January 5, 2022
Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars THE essential book on understanding American (and Canadian) residential architectural style.
Reviewed in Canada 🇨🇦 on June 3, 2020
One person found this helpful
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SEAN BEST
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Design Resource for the Single Family Home in North America
Reviewed in Canada 🇨🇦 on November 17, 2021
Mr. Michael C. Fitzgerald
5.0 out of 5 stars One of my new favourite books
Reviewed in Australia 🇦🇺 on June 7, 2020
Fabián Dávila
5.0 out of 5 stars Un libro de consulta clásico
Reviewed in Mexico 🇲🇽 on May 12, 2021