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Early American Architecture: From the First Colonial Settlements to the National Period

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Format: Hardcover

Condition: Good*

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Book Overview

Hailed as "a model of scholarship" by the Saturday Review, this comprehensive survey of domestic and public architecture ranges from early settlers' primitive cabins to Greek Revival mansions of the... This description may be from another edition of this product.

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Architecture History Reference

Customer Reviews

1 rating

The best book I've seen on this topic!

I picked up this book inexpensively, secondhand, to use as a reference because it has a lot of very good photos and floor plans. But I glanced at the first page and was hooked. It's an incredibly well-written, well-balanced, unbiased, well-organized, and informed view of colonial architecture extant in the U.S. in the mid-20th century, when the book was written. Morrison tells in the introduction that his goal was to write a comprehensive history of the topic. And he's done a stellar job. It's the first such book I've seen that gives significant treatment not only of the Spanish Southwest (with separate chapters on each of those states and what distinguishes each state's architecture from that of the other S.W. states) but also devotes a significant portion of its pages to French Colonial architecture, not just of New Orleans, but also of the entire French Mississippi Valley and parts of the Gulf Coast. A bit about the composition of the book: Morrison devotes entire sections of chapters or entire chapters themselves to the background of a particular style (e.g, Dutch colonial in the New York area), but then gives a major portion of the text over to descriptions of prime examples of the styles he's just described. Several houses and public buildings are discussed in each section, almost always with photos, often with floor plans and interior shots. Morrison's unbiased and comprehensive coverage of a very wide-ranging subject is extremely well done, with the exception of just one rather amusing bit of editorializing: he doesn't seem to like dormers, or at least seems to prefer 17th century gables to dormers. Other than that funny (and seldom-appearing) idiosyncrasy, the book is a wonderful educational tool and reference book for the layperson. The fact that this book was originally published more than 50 years ago and is still in print is an amazing testement to the fact that it's so well written.
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