Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone
  • Android

To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.

Buy Used
$5.93
FREE Shipping on orders over $25.
Used: Acceptable | Details
Sold by Orion LLC
Condition: Used: Acceptable
Comment: .
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See all 2 images

A Field Guide to American Houses Paperback – May 12, 1984

4.7 out of 5 stars 236 customer reviews

See all 11 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Price
New from Used from
Paperback
"Please retry"
$27.32 $0.01

Get a FREE Amazon Echo with homework help
Choose from 40+ subjects with online tutors from The Princeton Review. Learn more
click to open popover

Editorial Reviews

Review

How to Use This Book

Preface

Looking at American Houses

Style: The Fashions of American Houses

Form: The Shapes of American Houses

Structure: The Anatomy of American Houses

Pictorial Key and Glossary

Folk Houses

Native American

Pre-Railroad

National

Colonial Houses (1600-1820)

Postmedieval English

Dutch Colonial

French Colonial

Spanish Colonial

Georgian

Adam

Early Classical Revival

Romantic Houses (1820-1880)

Greek Revival

Gothic Revival

Italianate

Exotic Revivals

Octagon

Victorian Houses (1860-1900)

Second Empire

Stick

Queen Anne

Shingle

Richardsonian Romanesque

Folk Victorian

Eclectic Houses (1880-1940)

Anglo-American, English, and French Period Houses

Colonial Revival

Neoclassical

Tudor

Chateauesque

Beaux Arts

French Eclectic

Mediterranean Period Houses

Italian Renaissance

Mission

Spanish Eclectic

Monterey

Pueblo Revival

Modern Houses

Prairie

Craftsman

Modernistic

International

American Houses Since 1940

Modern

Neoeclectic

Contemporary Folk

For Further Reference

Index

From the Inside Flap

For the house lover and the curious tourist, for the house buyer and the weekend stroller, for neighborhood preservation groups and for all who want to know more about their community -- here, at last, is a book that makes it both easy and pleasurable to identify the various styles and periods of American domestic architecture.

Concentrating not on rare landmarks but on typical dwellings in ordinary neighborhoods all across the United States -- houses built over the past three hundred years and lived in by Americans of every social and economic background -- the book provides you with the facts (and frame of reference) that will enable you to look in a fresh way at the houses you constantly see around you. It tells you -- and shows you in more than 1,200 illustrations -- what you need to know in order to be able to recognize the several distinct architectural styles and to understand their historical significance. What does that cornice mean? Or that porch? That door? When was this house built? What does its style say about the people who built it? You'll find the answers to such questions here.

This is how the book works: Each of thirty-nine chapters focuses on a particular style (and its variants). Each begins with a large schematic drawing that highlights the style's most important identifying features. Additional drawings and photographs depict the most common shapes and the principal subtypes, allowing you to see at a glance a wide range of examples of each style. Still more drawings offer close-up views of typical small details -- windows, doors, cornices, etc. -- that might be difficult to see in full-house pictures. The accompanying text is rich in information about each style -- describing in detail its identifying features, telling you where (and in what quantity) you're likely to find examples of it, discussing all of its notable variants, and revealing its origin and tracing its history.

In the book's introductory chapters you'll find invaluable general discussions of house-building materials and techniques ("Structure"), house shapes ("Form"), and the many traditions of architectural fashion ("Style") that have influenced American house design through the past three centuries. A pictorial key and glossary help lead you from simple, easily recognized architectural features -- the presence of a tile roof, for example -- to the styles in which that feature is likely to be found. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

China
Engineering & Transportation Books
Discover books for all types of engineers, auto enthusiasts, and much more. Learn more

Product Details

  • Paperback: 525 pages
  • Publisher: Knopf (May 12, 1984)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0394739698
  • ISBN-13: 978-0394739694
  • Product Dimensions: 6.6 x 1.1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (236 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #73,171 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Important Information

Ingredients
Example Ingredients

Directions
Example Directions

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Mark K. Mcdonough on May 28, 2001
Format: Paperback
I worked for a few years as an architectural historian doing historic building surveys and wore out at least 2 or 3 copies of this wonderful book. There are lots of "pocket guides" to architectural styles which will tell you that yup, that thing with a turret is a Victorian. But this book is a priceless resource for anyone with more than a casual interest in American domestic architecture. The McAlesters focus on ordinary houses (rather than rare architectural landmarks) and cover everything from dog-run log cabins to Greek Revival cottages to 1950s ranch houes. The writing is clear, the level of detail is just right, and the book has hundreds of black and white photos and illustrations.
I learned about domestic architecture to make a living, but even 20 years later still enjoy it as a hobby. If you're a professional in the field, this book is essential. But I would strongly recommend it to amateur enthusiasts as well. Once you learn to recognize housing types, every drive becomes a history lesson.
Comment 106 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback
If you are an old-house fan, this book is the equivalent of a college education. Here are some reasons this book is both entertaining and useful:
It starts with chapters on basic structure: shapes of houses, style of construction, ornamentation, etc. There are simple, remarkably clear drawings accompanying all this that will serve to give you a kind of 'vocabulary' to interpret houses when you run across something new (for example, a dozen different types of dormers - what are they all called?). (These involve almost entirely external elements, for detailed interiors you will need another book.)
Lots of delicious historical background about how history and technological advances changed housing. For example, the authors divide folk housing into "pre" and "post-railroad" because not until railroads made building materials nationally accessible did a national set of housing styles develop.
Following this, there are a series of chapters describing different styles (i.e., Victorian, Tudor, etc.), starting with the characteristic details, when and where the style is found, etc. The McAlisters do a particularly good job on regional variations; there are some remarkable maps showing the prevelance of different styles in different states.
The graphics are fantastic and plentiful. The simple stylzed drawings of building elements (rooflines, doorways, windows, etc.) clearly distinguish one detail from another, while the photographs make you want to pop into the car and drive all over to see the real houses themselves.
One note: there is a table, starting around p. 55, that will make the book much easier to use as a 'field guide' (i.e., driving around looking at houses the way birders look at birds).
Read more ›
Comment 67 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is a "must" for anyone who likes to look at houses. Its novel, central purpose is to aid in identifying the architectural styles of American homes. It does this in a manner analogous to "field guides" for birds, bugs or plants, but instead of wings and beaks or leaves and bark, it describes roof lines, window treatments and the many other visible characteristics that define each style. Introductory chapters offer an engaging historical background for floor plans, construction techniques and exterior features; these chapters are clear, concise and accessible even to a novice. The chapter on neighborhoods, new for the 2nd edition, presents a fascinating account of how geography and advances in transportation have influenced people's decisions to live in communities and the homes they were likely to build in a given locale. The author is well aware that illustrations are crucial in a volume of this nature; she provides hundreds of straightforward line drawings that clarify structural and decorative concepts, plus hundreds more instructive photographs of actual dwellings. In the chapters on individual styles these figures complement one another to convey both the essential elements of each style and the range of variations that may be encountered "in the field". Add an exhaustive reference section at the end and you have a versatile work that will enrich the afternoons of casual weekend wanderers while also serving the needs of serious students of architectural history.
Comment 41 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback
Of the several dozen books I own of American house styles, this is the only book that systematically breaks down every American house style from the Native American tipi to Modern architecture. For every style, it gives the two critcal elements of architecture, the form/shape of the houses and their details. As a land developer, I use this book as a pattern book for the design criteria of homes built in my neighborhoods - every homeowner gets a copy! This is truly the bible of American house styles.
Comment 43 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover
I got the new edition of the Field Guide the other night, and I think that it's BRILLIANT! This book is an absolute Bible for all of us in the real estate business, and the chapters on the Millennium Mansions and New Traditionals are priceless. Virginia always hit the nail on the head with her descriptions, and I literally laughed out loud when I read the line re: the McMansion roofs...."These complicated roofs can be thought of as crowns, or, more satirically, as the Future Roofers of America Relief Act." Bravo!
This book is a "must-have" reference for anyone interested in architecture, building, real estate, historic homes, etc. It is a fascinating study on homes of yesterday AND today. Anyone could learn a lot from this volume, and it's information is timeless.
Comment 24 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse

Most Recent Customer Reviews