The Greenwood Encyclopedia of Homes through World History
[3 volumes]
by James Steele
March 2009, 1100pp, 7x10
3 volumes, Greenwood

Hardcover: 978-0-313-33788-8
$321, £247, 280€, A440
eBook Available: 978-0-313-08108-8
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

Time, technology, and culture influence the homes of people throughout the world, from the simplest prehistoric dwellings to the architecturally complex single dwellings and skyscrapers of today.

The house, throughout history, in every place in the world, has been built to provide shelter from the elements. The dwellings that have resulted are as different as the people that have built them, the social norms that prevailed at the time and place in which they were built and the natural environment that they adapted to. Studying them now in a comprehensive way allows us to understand the social, political, economic and religious conditions that existed for their inhabitants. They are a three-dimensional record of culture. Twenty-four pages of color images, along with black and white images through three volumes, illustrate the homes of people throughout the world. The volumes cover ancient times to the late Middle Ages, the Renaissance to the Industrial Revolution, and the Post-Industrial Revolution to the Present.


Outstanding Academic Title, 2009—Choice, January 1, 2010


"The set is well written throughout and illustrated with black-and-white and color photographs. One is almost tempted to sit down with each volume and read cover to cover in order not to miss any of the fascinating historical and cultural descriptions of the development of homes around the world and throughout history. BOTTOM LINE: A good addition to public libraries as well as academic libraries, particularly those serving architecture programs but also those supporting curricula in anthropology, sociology, and history. "—Library Journal, April 15, 2009

"This set breaks new ground by focusing on the architecture of homes throughout history and from cultures in the Americas, Africa, Asia and Australasia, Europe, and East and Southeast Asia. . . . Because this set brings together a wide array of material on housing that is normally found in many different sources, college libraries will definitely want to purchase it."—Booklist, June 1, 2009

"Steele (author and educator, U. of Southern California) provides a comprehensive survey of the housing of significant cultures from throughout the world: the Americas, Africa, Asia and Australasia, East and Southeast Asia, and Europe and the Western Mediterranean. The three-volume set spans the development of housing from ancient times to the present. While the author discusses materials used and methods of construction, he also delves into how the housing of different societies reflects their belief systems, social orders, and cultures. From the relatively familiar stone structures of Macchu Picchu to the Chinese residential districts known as hutongs, the array of architectural styles and the considerations incorporated into their construction—such as environment, light, protection, and available materials—provide a fascinating journey through history. Organized in an encyclopedic format, the set is clearly written, informative, and well-illustrated."—Reference & Research Book News, May 1, 2009

"This three-volume set on the history and cultural significance of domestic architecture around the world from 6000 BCE to the present is an ambitious and highly successful undertaking. . . . This set is authoritative, well-written, and replete with fascinating detail that illuminates the cultural meaning of the built form. . . . Although Steele acknowledges that complete coverage of this topic is impossible, his sampling of significant homes of culturally diverse peoples across time has resulted in a work of importance that will interest students of both anthropology and architecture. This set is unrivaled in its scope and usefulness, and should be very valuable to both academic and public libraries. Summing Up: Essential. Lower-level undergraduates and above; general readers."—Choice, September 1, 2009

"...Steele does an excellent job of providing a global view. This balanced history is recommended for academic and public libraries."—Lawrence Looks at Books, November 1, 2009
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