Top 11 Books About Frank Lloyd Wright

Outside Takes on the Colorful Character and Creative Designs of FLW

old black and white photo of the back of an old man with a hat sitting in a spindle chair playing the piano
Frank Lloyd Wright. Tony Vaccaro/Hulton Archive/Getty Images (cropped)

Architects, critics, and fans have written extensively about the life and work of Frank Lloyd Wright. He is both adored and despised — sometimes by the same people. Listed here are a few of the most popular books about Wright. Not included here are Wright's own writings and speeches. 

Dr. William Allin Storrer has long been the go-to authority to maintain the Frank Lloyd Wright catalog of works. This hefty textbook, revised in 2006, is based on decades of scholarship, with extensive descriptions, histories, hundreds of photographs, and hundreds of floor plans for everything Wright built in the United States. You can go through the Storrer archival papers at the University of Texas in Austin, or you can buy the book. Either way, learning the scope of Wright's designs and philosophies is the place to start understanding Wright, the person.

Subtitled "A Complete Catalog," this compact paperback by William A. Storrer has facts and locations listed in chronological order, which makes it a biography of an architect's life's work. The black-and-white photos of early editions have largely been replaced with color photos, and the entries are more expansive and inclusive — every structure that Frank Lloyd Wright is thought to have built.

Keep this handy 6-by-9-inch book in your car and use it as a travel guide - the 2017 Fourth Edition still has a geographical index and it's still published by the University Of Chicago Press. A mobile app version called the Wright Guide is also available.

Subtitled Recreating the Spirit of Frank Lloyd Wright, this 1992 book published by Simon & Schuster put author Carla Lind on the FLW map. Here Lind looks at the interior design of forty Frank Lloyd Wright houses, and sources for the furniture, rugs, wallpaper, lighting fixtures, textiles and accessories.

Carla Lind is a prolific author of Wright's works. In her 1990s-era Wright at a Glance series she's taken on Wright's glass designs, furnishings, fireplaces, dining rooms, prairie houses, public buildings, and Frank Lloyd Wright's Lost Buildings — each fewer than 100 pages.

Lind has expanded some of these pamphlet-like introductions into more expansive books, like Lost Wright: Frank Lloyd Wright's Vanished Masterpieces published by Pomegranate. About one hundred of Frank Lloyd Wright's buildings have been destroyed for various reasons. This 2008 book by Carla Lind offers historic black-and-white photos of Wright's lost buildings, plus color photos of portions of the buildings that have been preserved.

Dixie Legler's subtitled Houses and Gardens by Frank Lloyd Wright and the Prairie School has been on the top of the FLW booklist for nearly 20 years. With hundreds of illustrations, this book showcases the Prairie Style concept by examining both architecture and landscapes of this school of architecture.

Legler was married to the famous photographer Pedro E. Guerrero (1917-2012), author of Picturing Wright: An Album from Frank Lloyd Wright's Photographer.

Some critics have panned this 1987 biography by Brendan Gill, longtime writer for The New Yorker magazine. Nevertheless, Gill's book is entertaining, an easy read, and it includes fascinating quotes from Wright's autobiography and other sources. You might find the language more challenging in Frank Lloyd Wright: An Autobiography, but you can read about the life of the architect in his own words if you don't like Gill's.

Biographer Meryle Secrest has a number of profiles under her name, but none more respected and thoroughly researched than this 1998 biography published by the University Of Chicago Press.

Architect-writer Thomas A. Heinz presents this exhaustive and lavishly illustrated survey of Wright's buildings, covering nearly every structure Wright completed. It's a hefty 450 page, colored-photo companion to the William A. Storrer books.

Anyone who is even the least bit familiar with architecture has heard of the eminent architecture critic Ada Louise Huxtable, who tackled Wright's career late in her own career. Never mind that the book received mixed reviews; Huxtable deserves to be read as much as Wright deserves to be written about.

Loving Frank is Nancy Horan's controversial novel that tells the mostly true story of Frank Lloyd Wright's love life. You might not care about Wright's affair with Mamah Borthwick Cheney, but Horan's novel spins a fascinating tale and gives an interesting perspective on  Wright's genius. The novel is available in various formats, because it's just that popular.

American novelist T. C. Boyle offers a fictionalized biography of Wright's personal life. The narrator of the book, a Japanese architect, is Boyle's creation even if many of the events in the book are real. It is often through fiction that we begin to understand the truths behind complex behaviors. Boyle, who himself lives in a Frank Lloyd Wright in California, recognizes Wright's complicated genius.

Subtitled A Short Illustrated Biography, this 2015 book is a quick read, like a refresher course on Wright or perhaps what the docent might reveal as you tour one of the architect's many buildings open to the public. In fact, co-author Pia Licciardi Abate spent over 16 years as a museum educator at the Wright-designed Solomon R. Guggenheim in New York City, and Dr. Leslie M. Freudenheim has been a popular lecturer to libraries and museum groups across the nation. As the title indicates, the success of the man is sometimes related to the building toys of little architykes.

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