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At Home

A short history of private life

Bill Bryson

This book is available for download with iBooks on your Mac or iOS device, and with iTunes on your computer. Books can be read with iBooks on your Mac or iOS device.

Description

What does history really consists of? Centuries of people quietly going about their daily business - sleeping, eating, having sex, endeavouring to get comfortable.
And where did all these normal activities take place?
At home.

This was the thought that inspired Bill Bryson to start a journey around the rooms of his own house, an 1851 Norfolk rectory, to consider how the ordinary things in life came to be. And what he discovered are surprising connections to anything from the Crystal Palace to the Eiffel Tower, from scurvy to body-snatching,from bedbugs to the Industrial Revolution, and just about everything else that has ever happened, resulting in one of the most entertaining and illuminating books ever written about the history of the way we live.

Publishers Weekly Review

09 August 2010 – Bryson (A Short History of Everything) takes readers on a tour of his house, a rural English parsonage, and finds it crammed with 10,000 years of fascinating historical bric-a-brac. Each room becomes a starting point for a free-ranging discussion of rarely noticed but foundational aspects of social life. A visit to the kitchen prompts disquisitions on food adulteration and gluttony; a peek into the bedroom reveals nutty sex nostrums and the horrors of premodern surgery; in the study we find rats and locusts; a stop in the scullery illuminates the put-upon lives of servants. Bryson follows his inquisitiveness wherever it goes, from Darwinian evolution to the invention of the lawnmower, while savoring eccentric characters and untoward events (like Queen Elizabeth I's pilfering of a subject's silverware). There are many guilty pleasures, from Bryson's droll prose—"What really turned the Victorians to bathing, however, was the realization that it could be gloriously punishing"—to the many tantalizing glimpses behind closed doors at aristocratic English country houses. In demonstrating how everything we take for granted, from comfortable furniture to smoke-free air, went from unimaginable luxury to humdrum routine, Bryson shows us how odd and improbable our own lives really are.

Customer Reviews

At home

A gentle and typical Bryson meander though history using the very loose connections provided by his own Norfolk home. Doors in my mind were opened, and I found myself looking things up, and checking what I thought I knew. Undemanding, and yet simulating!

He does it again!

Once again Mr Bryson has produced a work of outstanding quality. Never would I have thought a book about the history of the home would be so informative and full of humour. Laugh out loud funny at times, deeply saddening at others, this is a book worth reading several times.

At Home

This is Bill Bryson at his knowledgeable and ascerbic best

At Home
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  • £6.49
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: History
  • Published: 27 May 2010
  • Publisher: Transworld
  • Print Length: 704 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

Customer Ratings