At Home: A Short History of Private Life

Front Cover
Doubleday, 2010 - Architecture - 497 pages
From one of the most beloved authors of our time—more than six million copies of his books have been sold in this country alone—a fascinating excursion into the history behind the place we call home.

“Houses aren’t refuges from history. They are where history ends up.”

Bill Bryson and his family live in a Victorian parsonage in a part of England where nothing of any great significance has
happened since the Romans decamped. Yet one day, he began to consider how very little he knew about the ordinary things of life as he found it in that comfortable home. To remedy this, he formed the idea of journeying about his house from room to room to “write a history of the world without leaving home.” The bathroom provides the occasion for a history of hygiene; the bedroom, sex, death, and sleep; the kitchen, nutrition and the spice trade; and so on, as Bryson shows how each has figured in the evolution of private life. Whatever happens in the world, he demonstrates, ends up in our house, in the paint and the pipes and the pillows and every item of furniture.

Bill Bryson has one of the liveliest, most inquisitive minds on the planet, and he is a master at turning the seemingly isolated or mundane fact into an occasion for the most diverting exposition imaginable. His wit and sheer prose fluency make At Home one of the most entertaining books ever written about private life.

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User Review  - m.belljackson - www.librarything.com

This should have been a 5 Star review of a comprehensive and enlightening history of a house bought by Bill Bryson. Instead, I am appalled by the overriding focus on the dollar sign wealth of mainly ... Read full review

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User Review  - Eoin - www.librarything.com

3.6 An entertaining collection of loosely related facts. Many moments, but lacking an over-arching whole. Worth it for Paxton or rats in teams. Read full review

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About the author (2010)


BILL BRYSON’s books include A Walk in the Woods, I’m a Stranger Here Myself, In a Sunburned Country, Bryson’s Book of Troublesome Words, A Short History of Nearly Everything (which earned him the 2004 Aventis Prize), The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid, and Bryson’s Dictionary for Writers and Editors. Bryson lives in England with his wife and children.

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