Concise and compact (6(apple) x 8(apple) x 1), unassailable and accessible, this does for architecture from ancient Egypt to nascent Brasilia what such a synthesis as Gardner's Art Through the Ages does for art in general, and does it more proficiently. Moreover, in viewing architecture as ""a very precise reflection of the society which produced it,"" Mr. Jordan provides an alternative to the formalist analysis of Pevsner in An Outline of Western Architecture; whereas the initiate will hew to Pevsner (and to others for the pre-medieval period outside his purview), the non-specialist student and the intelligent layman may find this more congenial. It is lucid and, within the limitations of space, comprehensive; while relatively little space is accorded American structures, this is less a criticism of the book than a limitation for an American audience. Illustrations are contiguous, of high quality, and apt--when a floor plan is called for, it is provided. Altogether it's a boon and a bargain.