Stone houses Traditional homes of Pennsylvania's Bucks County and Brandywine Valley

Margaret Bye Richie

Book - 2005

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Review by Choice Review

Recording historic architecture has become popular through the coffee-table book. Richie, Huber, and Milner (historians and architect) and Gross (photographer) offer a classic example of this emerging genre of books on architecture: not too demanding; no floor plans; no real architectural details examined through drawings, plans, and sections; no examination of the materials used or why they work; but excellent color photography. This being said, the book opens with two excellent historical and architectural essays, albeit without footnotes, encouraging readers to look forward to the following 35 houses as well as details and vernacular explanations of colonial architecture in the regions surrounding Philadelphia. But here the book fails. Although the title suggests traditional stone houses, brick ones and 20th-century stone replications are included. The reader is introduced to terms such as "half-house" or "Georgian plan," but little is defined or illustrated. Books on architecture need more substance than photography to expand and explain why and how structures were built the way they were. To be valuable, this book should be a learning experience of the region, not another survey coffee-table book like Roger Moss's Historic Sacred Places of Philadelphia (CH, Apr'05, 42-4464). ^BSumming Up: Optional. General readers; lower-division undergraduates. L. B. Sickels-Taves Eastern Michigan University

Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.