• From Bauhaus to Our House

  • By: Tom Wolfe
  • Narrated by: Dennis McKee
  • Length: 3 hrs and 12 mins
  • 3.9 out of 5 stars (273 ratings)

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From Bauhaus to Our House  By  cover art

From Bauhaus to Our House

By: Tom Wolfe
Narrated by: Dennis McKee
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Publisher's summary

In Tom Wolfe's hands, the strange saga of American architecture in the 20th century makes for both high comedy and intellectual excitement. This is his sequel to The Painted Word, the book that caused such a furor in the art world five years before. Once again Wolfe shows how social and intellectual fashions have determined aesthetic form in our time and how willingly the creators have abandoned personal vision and originality in order to work a la mode.
Listen to a conversation with Tom Wolfe.
©1981 by Tom Wolfe (P)1998 by Blackstone Audiobooks

What listeners say about From Bauhaus to Our House

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

So snarky I kept having to back up and repeat

This book is so deliciously biting and sarcastic I kept having to back up and listen to almost every sentence again to be sure I got all the snark. Every word is perfectly crafted with (in most cases) a lot of well-deserved sneers. I do not share quite his level of derision in every case but I love it when someone is bold enough to skewer some sacred cows no one else dares to skewer. If you like this one, another similar book is "The Painted Word" (also by Wolfe) and "Art's Prospect" by Roger Kimball. I have a friend who loves and respects Frank Lloyd Wright and I had to stop reading and email him about Bauhaus to Our House because of how it praises Wright and links Wright to other indigenous American art forms and movements that lost their place in the sun too soon. That said, I don't absolutely hate minimalism. But it sure is fun to hear some sacred cows get a grilling.

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6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

No Reflection

No reflection on the book, but I just wasn't in the mood for this. The narrator did not do Tom Wolfe justice. He is a clever writer, but the cleverness was missing in this book due in large part to the uninspired narration. I will most likely listen to it again in the future but for now I'm just not getting it.

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3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

The reading was below average.

and the editing was terrible; different levels, different closeness to the mic, even in the middle of a paragraph.
The book is good. I finished reading it on Kindle. Reading the Kingdom of Speech now.

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2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

narrator is NOT good

minimal effort put into the production of this. if you can get past that, Wolfe’s story is fantastic.

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1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

From the Outside

Would you try another book from Tom Wolfe and/or Dennis McKee?

I love TW, but this did not resonate with me at all.

Would you ever listen to anything by Tom Wolfe again?

Sure. This is an outlier.

Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Dennis McKee?

Don't know.

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from From Bauhaus to Our House?

Most of them. The book is too much 'inside architecture'. Who are the professors, the rumors, the infighting, etc. That stuff just isn't interesting to me.. faculty politics and whatnot. Dreadfully boring.

Any additional comments?

Discussions about what the designers were trying to achieve, and technical / engineering issues involved in achieving them.

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1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Nice Architectural History Synopsis

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

This was a nice review of certain early to mid-century architectural style(s) and theory.
If you need to freshen your memory of things learned in Art History 101, this is the ticket in the architectural field.

What could Tom Wolfe have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

Mr. Wolfe did what he proposed. That being an articulation of just how the minimalist idea in the architectural canon evolved.

Did Dennis McKee do a good job differentiating all the characters? How?

Well, no characters here, but Mr. McKee did a nice job reading the text.

Could you see From Bauhaus to Our House being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

(Ah HA!! I see that Audible needs to apply some editing their questions when reviewing nonfiction! This is an essay, pretty much, not a fictionalized account of architectural stylizers.)

But OK... I'm game!

If Mr. Wolfe wanted to have a movie made of the evolution of intellectualization of the human habitat from dirt floors and burlap curtains to the glass box of the 20th century, he could introduce into a work of fiction an immortal who lives on one square acre of ground for about 12,000 years and has to undergo a thousand renovations of his habitat.

Anyone who has ever been inflicted with of a renovation of the tiniest kitchen or a measly bathroom knows that this leads to madness. So, instead of a vampire or wolf-human that lives forever, we could have, as our protagonist, a common man driven insane not only by the intellectuals who dictate fashion at the expense of comfort but also a man driven to suicide by the endless torture of construction never finished. Sort of like what happens in any actual renovation.

Of course, being immortal, the man cannot chose to end his suffering at his own hand because, well, he's immortal and must endure until he is finally encased in a glassy, soulless, boxed tower .

Any additional comments?

Nope.

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1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Brilliant and Incisive Satire. Wolfe at his Best!

If you want to understand why so many modernh new buildings in our cities are hard on the eyes as well as the spirit, Tom Wolfe is your man!
Wolfe eviscerates the pompous and arrogant class of modern architects, and makes you laugh out loud as he does it.

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1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

One long run of words

Well that certainly was not bourgeois! Actually I have never read or listened to any single book that used the word bourgeois as many times as this one does. I thought the reader did well just to make it through all of the words.

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Bad narration good book 

Tim Wolfe is always a good antidote to dogmatic thinking and paying too much attention to “experts“ in non-objective fields.  While the nuts and bolts of architecture is certainly objective, the aesthetics are not.  Many mispronounced words.  don’t publishers ever check this stuff? 

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Classic, hilarious Wolfe

The audio quality is not great and I didn't know anything about architecture beforehand, and yet this is one of the best non fiction books I've listened to. That's how interesting and hilarious Tom Wolfe is

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