The American Country House

american-country-house‘Why is it that a man, just as soon as he gets enough money, builds a house much bigger than he needs?’ asked Harvey S.Firestone in Men and Rubber, 1936. The American Country House analyses the phenomenon he had in mind.  The buildings that it illustrates and describes have been, in many cases, literally wiped off the map. They were demolished in such large numbers that some people have been reluctant to admit that such a thing as a country house movement existed, in the republic of the United States. Clive Aslet brings together surviving examples (such as the Rockefellers’ Kykuit and the Duponts’ Winterthur) with evidence of those that have disappeared, not only celebrating the architectural achievement but proving that country houses were an essential element of American social life at the beginning of the twentieth century.