This best-selling book is a beautifully illustrated history of the English country house from the Middle Ages to the twentieth century. In it, renowned architectural historian Mark Girouard presents a rare and revealing glimpse of the English upper classes-their public and personal lives, their servants, and their homes. "A deeply important book, one of the most interesting contributions to architectural history."-J. H. Plumb, The New York Review of Books "A survey of country houses through the past five centuries, from a broad range of materials: family archives, literature, plans and photographs.... The book itself is a physical artifact of surpassing beauty which could fit on the grandest table in the houses it describes."-David Hackett Fischer, The New Republic "Informative, balanced, knowledgeable, and witty."-The New Yorker "This enthralling and immensely informative book...tells with wit, scholarship, and lucidity how the country house evolved to meet the needs and reflect the social attitudes of the times."-Philip Ziegler, The Times "One of those very useful and very enjoyable books that the learned can seldom write, and the entertaining seldom achieve-clear, detailed, and witty."-Angus Wilson, The Observer Winner of the 1978 Duff Cooper Memorial Prize and the W. H. Smith & Son Annual Literary Award for 1979.