sequel to his Tastemakers, Mr. Lynes now takes us on a kind of cook's our with commentary of the houses Americans have chosen to call home from the time of Jackson to the present. The exploration is vertical: the columns and pediments of the Greek Revival, the ""bedeviled boxes with fussy lids"" called after Queen Anne, the Tuscan Villas, the Gothic cottages, and the modern ranch home-- and horizontal, surveying the significance of the rooms within. ""The truth of the matter"", contends Mr. Lynes, ""is we have picked our way from one kind of ridiculous to another, with occasional sublime examples, usually just far enough off the main road so that few people were aware of them"". He also discusses the boarding house phenomenon of the 19th century, the emergence of the apartment house, the conveniences of the apartment hotel -- all, of course, with an eye to shedding some light on the American ream with its ideal of mobility and its less than pragmatic evaluata. A valuable social history.