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At Home: A Short History of Private Life | [Bill Bryson]

At Home: A Short History of Private Life

Bill Bryson was struck one day by the thought that we devote more time to studying the battles and wars of history than to considering what history really consists of: centuries of people quietly going about their daily business. This inspired him to start a journey around his own house, an old rectory in Norfolk, considering how the ordinary things in life came to be.
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Publisher's Summary

Here is Bill Bryson’s entertaining and illuminating book about the history of the way we live - complete, unabridged and read by the author.

Bill Bryson was struck one day by the thought that we devote more time to studying the battles and wars of history than to considering what history really consists of: centuries of people quietly going about their daily business. This inspired him to start a journey around his own house, an old rectory in Norfolk, considering how the ordinary things in life came to be. Along the way, he researched the history of anything and everything, from architecture to electricity, from food preservation to epidemics, from the spice trade to the Eiffel Tower, from crinolines to toilets. And he discovered that there is a huge amount of history, interest and excitement - and even a little danger - lurking in the corners of every home.

Where A Short History of Nearly Everything was a sweeping panorama of the world, the universe and everything, At Home peers at private life through a microscope. Bryson applies the same irrepressible curiosity, irresistible wit, stylish prose, and masterful storytelling that made A Short History of Nearly Everything one of the most lauded books of the last decade.

©2010 Bill Bryson (P)2014 Audible, Inc.

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  • James
    Wincanton, United Kingdom
    2/4/11
    Overall
    "Perfectly read"

    I am writing this review to act as a balance to those who found Bill Bryson's narration poor. I felt that his reading of the book matched the content perfectly. I did not find it droning or unpleasant, quite the contrary.

    The content of the book was marvellous. An interesting flood of seemingly unconnected historical trivia loosely based around the floor plan of his Norfolk rectory, full of interesting facts and potted biographies. Bravo to Mr Bryson!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Vivian
    New Malden, United Kingdom
    10/5/10
    Overall
    "Usual Bryson"

    This was what I expected - somewhat over long and rambling on times - but full of amazingly interesting, if trivial facts. Bryson's narration is not inspired, but is certainly acceptable and easy to listen to.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • John
    LondonUnited Kingdom
    9/23/10
    Overall
    "Author/ Narrator"

    I have read and listened with equal enthusiasm to almost all of Bill Bryson's books. However although this book is an excellent read it is not an equally excellent listen. The previous titles, read by William Roberts, were fabulous to listen to. This one however is not In the same league. Please keep writing fabulous books but perhaps give William Roberts his job back - he was rather excellent!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Daniel Crussell
    8/31/10
    Overall
    "Suprisingly great"

    This audiobook has amazed me. When I first listened to it I felt it was good but rambled a bit to much and was very disjointed.

    Bill Bryson takes us on tour of home and gives us a history of almost everything from the slave trade to how high rats can jump. The most amazing thing about this audiobook is how much it seeps in to your mind.

    I have found myself of late reeling out random facts about table manners or jumping rats which all have come from this book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Sarah
    Leigh-on-sea, Essex, United Kingdom
    8/10/10
    Overall
    "Relaxing listen"

    Excellent listen. Typical Bryson - entertaining, educating, humorous and a very relaxing, slightly soporific read.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Becki
    United Kingdom
    8/8/10
    Overall
    "Interesting as always."

    As I have come to expect from Bryson I found this book very interesting. I did however feel it lacked some of the humour of his other work, this book only raised a chuckle once in a while rather than a laugh-out-loud. I also found his voice really irritating (sorry!) - as much as I like him I think it's best left to William Wallace to read.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Oussama
    LondonUnited Kingdom
    7/31/10
    Overall
    "A waste of time"

    I've read three of Bill Bryson's books, and liked them all. This one, however, is terrible. It is repetitive and sounds like something one could have written while drunk! Yes, it is packed with anecdotes, but it is as entertaining as listening to a senile elder.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Laurence
    Poole, Dorset, United Kingdom
    7/9/10
    Overall
    "You have to like minutiae"

    I listen to snippets before dropping off to sleep.
    Yes, most of the endless stream of facts and statistics is not a necessary part of ones education; but there is something fascinating about the unusual facts and detail that Bryson has unearthed.
    Some sections might make those with a sensitive stomach wilt, but the best of this book is that you can pick it up at any point and learn some totally useless but strangely gripping.information!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Dianne
    LondonUnited Kingdom
    7/4/10
    Overall
    "All things homely"

    I love this book. Every chapter holds many surprises about household terms and items that I had totally taken for granted all my life. Bill Bryson relates it himself, which as he is talking about his own home, is fascinating. I always enjoy his narrations.

    It is never too late to find out your own home is another country.

    Great book!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Edward
    AmstelveenNetherlands
    12/2/10
    Overall
    "A writer not a reader"

    I have always enjoyed Bryson's books, but this time I made the mistake of not listening to the sample. A terrible reader. I had to switch off before the end of the first section as he was threatening to send me to sleep or drive me insane at the wheel.

    1 of 3 people found this review helpful
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