The Man in the Glass House: Philip Johnson, Architect of the Modern Century


Product Details

Little Brown and Company
Publish Date
6.3 X 1.6 X 9.5 inches | 1.75 pounds

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About the Author

Mark Lamster is the architecture critic of the Dallas Morning News, a professor in the architecture school at the University of Texas at Arlington, and a 2017 Loeb Fellow of the Harvard Graduate School of Design.


"The Man in the Glass House is a vivid, thoughtful, illuminating, disturbing, and definitive chronicle of one of twentieth-century architecture's most celebrated and powerful figures."--Kurt Andersen, author and host of Studio 360
"Mark Lamster thoughtfully teases out the real history of this modernist icon, from his impressive sexual appetites and more-than-flirtation with fascism in Hitler's Germany to his 1990s collaboration with Donald Trump. It's clear that Johnson was a fascinating and disturbing figure; Lamster's biography, impressively and honestly, displays him with his full complexity."--Ruth Franklin, author of Shirley Jackson: A Rather Haunted Life
"More than a dozen years after his death Philip Johnson remains a perplexing, polarizing, magnetic and frustrating figure: although he was far from our greatest architect, no one did more to shape our architectural culture. In this compelling biography, Mark Lamster deconstructs Johnson's complex persona, evaluates his work and begins the complex process of establishing his place in history."--Paul Goldberger, Pulitzer Prize-winning critic and author of Building Art: The Life and Work of Frank Gehry
"The Man in the Glass House captures the essence of a prodigious, multivalent, enigmatic American talent with authority and aplomb. It's a biography with attitude, a bullet train through the shifting landscapes of twentieth-century America, and a sheer pleasure to read."--Tom Vanderbilt, author of Traffic: Why We Drive The Way We Do
"Philip Johnson led many lives--as curator, aspiring demagogue with a Third Reich fixation, modernist architect, winking post-modernist, and finally kingmaker in the profession--and Mark Lamster has masterfully woven them together in a biography that is as much literary as critical achievement. Required reading for anyone hoping to make sense of the American century, for Johnson was its house architect."--Christopher Hawthorne, Chief Design Officer for the city of Los Angeles and former architecture critic, Los Angeles Times
"Philip Johnson was as complicated and contradictory as the American century that created him and which he helped define. Modernist, reactionary, anti-Semite, populist, artist, and commercial powerhouse, he lived, in some sense, to contradict himself. In Mark Lamster's nuanced telling, Johnson becomes more than the man in the round glasses or the avatar of modernism; he becomes a symbol of America itself. This is biography as history, and it is a magnificent piece of work."--David L. Ulin, author of Sidewalking: Coming to Terms with Los Angeles
"An astute... look at the influential modernist architect. Offering a fresh look at his subject's less-than-savory aspects, Lamster portrays a diffident genius for whom being boring was the greatest crime."--Kirkus (starred review)
"Lamster's mesmerizing, authoritative, and often-astonishing study grapples with Johnson's legacy in all its ambiguity... Lamster depicts a man by turns enchanting and irritating, sublime and subpar, pioneering and derivative... Johnson's contradictions, Lamster argues, reveal something of the nation's. Readers may come away with both contempt and admiration, a testament to Lamster's masterful achievement."--Booklist (starred review)
"Smoothly written and fair-minded... [a] searching and thorough overview of Johnson's engrossing life."--Wall Street Journal
One of the Best Books of the Year - Smithsonian Magazine
"[a] brisk, clear-eyed new biography... Johnson emerges in Lamster's treatment as a person of utter consistency, determined in every instance to strip architecture of social purpose."--the New Yorker
"The perfect addition to the aesthete's bookshelf... essential"--The Globe and Mail
"[A] thoroughly researched and highly readable volume that vividly captures the essence of a complex and disturbing character."--Architectural Record
"Searing yet judicious... thoroughly documented and convincingly laid out... [an] insightful investigation."--The New York Review of Books