Now that doing-it-yourself is more of a necessity than an option, Fahy who has renovated an old apartment, then a house in Philadelphia, then a house in Maine, gives you the benefit of his hardwon experience. This is much more than America's Handyman Book spackling and stapling: Fahy will tell you the proper weight of the stepladder you're going to stand on before you plasterboard the ceiling; he'll also tell you what to look out for when you're surveying the house you may buy (older is usually better) or what to save when you do the initial demolition (be it telephone wires or baseboards). You may only be up to the minor improvements (plastering, painting, carpentry); if so you may need a contractor--estimates should be free. In any case he tells you what you'll need--what you may spend--and how you should go about walls, insulation, windows, doors, floors, plumbing, electricity down to that happier task of decorating once the plaster dust has cleared. It seems like an indispensable book for the man around the house he has to fix up or maintain; what's more, it's not only explicit but pleasant to read.