Based on thirty-five years of fieldwork, Glassie's Vernacular Architecture synthesizes a career of concern with traditional building. He articulates the key principles of architectural analysis, and then, centering his argument in the United States, but drawing comparative examples from many locations in Europe and Asia, he shows how architecture can be a prime resource for the one who would write a democratic and comprehensive history.
An alternative title for Glassie's book might well be "A Thoughtful Ramble Through Euro-American Cultural History Using Old Buildings as a Starting Point." Rewriting and revising the fifth chapter of his recent Material Culture, Glassie discusses the complex ways humans organize their lives by analyzing the houses they build. The emphasis is on rural building in Ireland, Turkey, and the Eastern United States, although homes in Japan, Sweden, and Bangladesh are presented as well. The photos and drawings by the author are exceptional in both artistic and technical quality. Despite the inclusive title, this is not a far-ranging guide or overview but an interesting tour of Glassie's mildly Marxian analysis of changes in peasant village structure and land ownership in the northern reaches of Europe and the subsequent effect those changes had on house styles in New England and the Middle Atlantic States. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.