Witold Rybczynski has written more than twenty books over a long and distinguished career in architecture, beginning with Home: A Short History of an Idea. That unlikely bestseller told the story of how English castles turned into manor houses and became the kind of “homes” that most in Anglo-Saxon countries see as an ideal domicile. His prose is graceful, simple, and ultimately enjoyable for any educated person who loves the English language. Following the death of John Summerson, he emerged as the finest architectural writer in our language.

Home was published in 1986, following two earlier books on multifamily housing that were aimed at an academic audience. Since that time Rybczynski has become a kind of “everyman” critic and historian, teaching at the University of Pennsylvania and...


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