Some structures loom larger in a nation’s psyche than they do in the actual landscape. From our very beginnings, Independence Hall, the White House and the Capitol Building were potent symbols of democracy. The Brooklyn Bridge, Hoover Dam and Empire State Building stood as much for progress as for practical, commercial endeavors. The Pentagon and World Trade Center defined our sources of power. The 9/11 terrorists understood this fact and therefore chose these high profile structures as their targets for destruction. This new guide examines the iconic roles of 24 structures in American history. The sketches of each structure explore their cultural impact as much as their design, construction and architectural functions. Thus, the description of the Alamo begins with a review of its place in literature and motion pictures. The discussion the Golden Gate Bridge highlights the building and safety innovations that made it possible. The profile of the Vietnam War Memorial focuses the many controversies over its design and its emotional impact on visitors. Coverage ranges from colonial missions and meeting halls to modern skyscrapers and memorials. Discussions of domestic architecture like Jefferson’s Monticello, Hearst Castle, Fallingwater and Elvis Presley’s Graceland demonstrate the multiple personalities a structure’s history can reflect. The Statue of Liberty, Alcatraz prison, Grand Central Station and the Hotel del Coronado provide entrées into the exploration of social, economic and aesthetic issues in the United States. Design professor Donald Langmead explains the origins, designs and historical uses of each structure. He provides portraits of designers, architects, site managers, original owners, as well as later managers and renovators of these iconic structures. Equally important, he demonstrates how the values these buildings represent have changed over time and have helped shape our changing identity as a nation. His guide is suitable for public and academic libraries.