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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"Bryson does it again!"
fascinating, informative, masterful
It is every bit as absorbing and informative as his 'history of nearly everything'. He covers little known facts of the inert and populates his narrative with the very human stories of the long forgotten people behind them, so that each page engages the reader with an atmospheric and witty charm.
If you are a fan of Bryson already then you must read this. If you are not acquainted with Bryson then starting here wont hurt - but the length may overwhelm you.
"Tenuous links between the home and the history!"
While this is not a bad book, do not expect it to blow your socks off like A Short History of Nearly Everything. Bryson provides the impression that he is to give a detailed discussion of the development of the house, its rooms, their function, etc., but he only does so in part. His tour through his rectory in England is a novel way to approach the subject, but is actually quite clumsily stitched into the narrative. There are some interesting discussions included, but too often Bryson veers away from what you imagine he should be talking about to something apparently quite unrelated. For example, when discussing 'the attic' he ends up discussing Charles Darwin and his On the Origin of Species. Links between the two are thready to say the least. Also he concentrates disproportionately on the 'big house', famous architects and the experiences of the 'higher ups', when discussing the evolution of house design.
Bryson's voice is soft and easy to listen to, while his writing style is, as ever, engaging.
I would recommend, but listen to this before A Short History...
"It's hard not to love Bill Bryson"
one of the best
The central character - Bill
No but I will now
No, it's too long
Bryson's writing sounds as good as it reads, charming and witty, insightful and life affirming.
"Great Book, Great Delivery!"
A joy to hear Bryson's wit with his own timing and tempo. His softened American accent, while in truth is not best suited for narration, is more than made up for in the delivery of his material as intended.
The book itself is a eclectic mash up of researched social history, distilled into portions with both alarming amount of fact and entertainment. Each chapter is never too long or tedious, and the variety of information is huge. This book (and Bryson's others) have kept me in dinner party conversation for the last year.
"Very interesting listen"
Bill Bryson has done it again! This is a really fascinating book bringing to life the history of home life, including the spice trade, the life of servants and the garden, as well as much else besides. Bill Bryson has a certain knack of making subjects light and enjoyable, that in another author's hands could be a bit hard going. I have listened to it twice now. Well worth the money.
"a story of progression"
every element of this book is wonderfully interesting. as with all of bills books you can put it down and pick it back up in a month and you are right back in a world of intrigue. i often revisit this book. all the things that suround you in your home that you probably wouldnt spare a thought have deep origins and have come a long way to become something that we all live with.
"excellent, amusing read"
This book narrated by Bill Bryson is an excellent listen. The script is very amusing and incredibly interesting full of lots of useless facts and shows how much we take common everyday things about the house for granted. Like all of his works that I have read or heard Bill's prose is witty and insightful. I would recommend this title to anyone.
"the author's words, in the author's voice."
I am a big fan of Bill Bryson. His writing style is the non fiction equivelent of flying a spoonful of spinach into a baby's mouth on an 'airplane' spoon. This particular book is chocked full of amazing facts, excellent tangents that manage to weave their way back to the point, and hilarious anecdotes. The audible version makes it possible to share this book with my 9 year old on tandem headphones during our commute and has awakened his sense of curiousity about the origin of normal things... The only thing that is surprising is the fact that our narrator sounds quite American, though the bulk of books subject is decidedly british.
"At Home: A Short History of Private Life"
This is a wonderfully informative book using the rooms in our home as inspiration for lots of interesting history telling. The only reason for 4 stars is the narrative is a little too quick for me and had to slow it down, which affects the quality on my ipod....but I do like listening to Bill's voice and his way of linking everything is excellent :-)
Absorbing, fascinating, enlightening, informative.
This is history as it should be taught.
Don't hesitate, buy it. You'll go back to this book again and again.
Beautifully read by Bill Bryson, you can dip in and out and be endlessly delighted, educated and enthralled.
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