January 18, 1982 12:00 PM

by Lester Walker

The author is a New York architect and teacher whose drawings are so clear they explain construction details at a glance. The book starts with diagrams of earth lodges—pits covered with mud and branches—which Indians in Arizona and New Mexico began building in A.D. 300. Walker then describes subsequent American housing like pueblo (700), Spanish cottage (1580), wigwam (1600), log cabin (1638), plantation Colonial (1700), Greek revival (1820), octagon (1860), shingle (1885), prairie (1915), Art Moderne (1935), Quonset hut (1945), A-frame (1955) and active solar (1975). The 100 examples reflect economic cycles and technology as well as American taste and cultural influences. They add up to a fascinating history of this continent during the past 1,700 years. (Overlook Press, $27.95)

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