by Douglass L. Brownstone; Facts on File, Inc.; 325 pages; $9.95.
Wherever Americans have gone in this country, they have left traces of their passing. Rusting railroad spurs, the particular slope of a hillside, faint traces of paint on the sides of brick buildings—all are eloquent of the past. The language they speak, however, is a subtle one. In this useful and clearly written guide, Douglass Brownstone shows how to become fluent enough to summon up from such diverse clues as discarded bottles, twists of barbed wire, and Greek Revival storefronts an accurate picture of how and when the people who came before us lived their lives.