This book is about BUILDING a conventional stick-built American house. There's scant attention to design issues. This also isn't the book if you want to construct anything other than a standard stick-built house (no domes, concrete houses, log cabins, & c.), or to incorporate elements like solar heating or super-insulated shells. George Nash assumes that you'll follow the road most travelled.
Given that limitation, the book is just CHOCK FULL of construction details. Just as an example, the chapter on framing a roof goes on for more than 60 pages. IF you can follow it, there's a lot of meat inside. But if you're like me, even with a fair amount of carpentry experience you'll find yourself getting lost on more than one occasion.
There's no list of definitions (lexicon), and carpentry in particular has its own vocabularly. On top of that, Nash freely interchanges synonyms (such as "jack" and "trimmer" -- two terms for the same type of framing stud) in the text. Plus the index refers only to words in the text, and omits those in the MANY illustrations entirely. The end result is that I frequently had to do some time-consuming page flipping to track down a term that had escaped my memory.
The illustrations bear particular attention because of their ability to confound. The (black and white) photographs are described by Nash as "my collection of old negatives, prints, and snapshots". Many of them have poor contrast, so they don't clearly delineate the features that are supposed to be of interest. The line drawings are professional product, with strict attention to proportional representation, but nonetheless frequently do a poor job of illustrating what the text is talking about. This is the case for three reasons: (1) they were created independent of the text, and stitched together by an editor, NOT the author OR illustrator; (2) their strict proportional representation means that important but small details can get lost; and (3) each one was reduced in size (by an editor) to squeeze more onto each page and reduce the total book length. The end result is that the text and illustrations do NOT make a unified or even particularly complementary whole.
If you know what you're trying to accomplish, and have the time to slog through the details, this book will tell you most of what you need to build your own stick-built house.
For less detail, but a FAR superior starting point for creating your own house, buy "The Real Goods INDEPENDENT BUILDER: Designing & Building A House Your Own Way" by Sam Clark. Read Clark's book cover-to-cover, then keep it open to the same subject area as you read "Do-It-Yourself HOUSEBUILDING"; anytime the Nash book confuses you, you can step back and get a clear overview from Clark's excellent work before you dig back into the details of the Nash book. (Even Clark's index is superior. Clark's book is about 500 pages with generouse whitespace; Nash's book is about 700 dense pages. Yet Nash's index is only 3/4 as long as Clark's.)
Overall, George Nash has pumped his tome full of almost all the construction details a do-it-yourself housebuilder could hope to find in one place. But this is NOT a book for beginners.