In her critically acclaimed, ingenious memoir, Sarah Messer explores America's fascination with history, family, and Great Houses. Her Massachusetts childhood home had sheltered the Hatch family for 325 years when her parents bought it in 1965. The will of the house's original owner, Walter Hatch--which stipulated Red House was to be passed down, "never to be sold or mortgaged from my children and grandchildren forever"--still hung in the living room. In Red House, Messer explores the strange and enriching consequences of growing up with another family's birthright. Answering the riddle of when shelter becomes first a home and then an identity, Messer has created a classic exploration of heritage, community, and the role architecture plays in our national identity.