We are currently making improvements to the Audible site. In an effort to enhance the accessibility experience for our customers, we have created a page to more easily navigate the new experience, available at the web address www.audible.com/access .
 >   > 
At Home Audiobook

At Home: A Short History of Private Life

Regular Price:$39.93
  • Membership Details:
    • First book free with 30-day trial
    • $14.95/month thereafter for your choice of 1 new book each month
    • Cancel easily anytime
    • Exchange books you don't like
    • All selected books are yours to keep, even if you cancel
  • - or -

Publisher's Summary

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.

©2010 Bill Bryson (P)2010 Random House Audio

What the Critics Say

"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." (Publishers Weekly)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.3 (3649 )
5 star
 (1871)
4 star
 (1165)
3 star
 (448)
2 star
 (127)
1 star
 (38)
Overall
4.3 (2261 )
5 star
 (1243)
4 star
 (660)
3 star
 (270)
2 star
 (70)
1 star
 (18)
Story
4.3 (2260 )
5 star
 (1248)
4 star
 (662)
3 star
 (258)
2 star
 (74)
1 star
 (18)
Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    Patrick VISTA, CA, United States 11-05-12
    Patrick VISTA, CA, United States 11-05-12 Member Since 2016

    @pball001 - Twitter

    ratings
    REVIEWS
    2
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "An Enlightening Book - History You Never Expected!"

    Bill Bryson is my favorite author hands down. He weaves history with facts, wit, and most of all the unexpected. You will laugh, cringe, and marvel throughout - guaranteed.

    As the author and narrator he is able to bring life to the book like no other. At Home is an eye opener, it really makes you stop and think about what surrounds you today in your own home.

    Get it, you will not be disappointed!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Stephen Enumclaw, WA, United States 10-21-12
    Stephen Enumclaw, WA, United States 10-21-12 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
    27
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    53
    9
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Bryson does his usual good job"

    If you enjoyed James Burke's "Connections" you will enjoy this book. Bryson walks through his 19th century English house outlining the purpose of each room and the history of how the type of room was used in the past. Along the way, he connects related historical conditions and events into a unique and fascinating web. For instance, at one point he takes us from the house in England to the technical problems of building the Erie Canal in New York State.

    Bryson does an excellent job of reading his own work.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dr Canada 10-19-12
    Dr Canada 10-19-12 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    18
    8
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A mind-opening delight."
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    A plethora of unknown wonders underlies our everyday existence. Bill Bryson lays it all out in a very entertaining and intellectually stimulating way.


    What did you like best about this story?

    I learned a great deal about things I thought I knew.


    Have you listened to any of Bill Bryson’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    I enjoyed his Brief History of Nearly Everything. This work did not disappoint.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    I was only sorry when it was over.


    Any additional comments?

    Buy it!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Alicia Nashville, TN, United States 09-18-12
    Alicia Nashville, TN, United States 09-18-12
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Things I didn't know I didn't know"
    Would you listen to At Home again? Why?

    It is definitely informative although I expected more from Bill Bryson. It was awfully dry. I had to switch to other books back and forth to prevent from falling asleep on my ride. I don't think I could handle it again, though being non-fiction, I don't usually listen or read those books more than once.


    How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

    More of Bryson's humor!


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lynne 09-17-12
    Lynne 09-17-12
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    2
    2
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Brilliant! I love him. Great listen."
    What did you love best about At Home?

    Hard to say, the humor, the facts, the way he ties different areas of life together


    What other book might you compare At Home to and why?

    One of my favorite all time books is Bill Bryson's A brief History of Nearly Everything.


    Any additional comments?

    I JUST LOVE IT! No more can be said.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Johanna Turner Mayfield, KY 08-06-12
    Johanna Turner Mayfield, KY 08-06-12 Member Since 2013

    CPA, CFP, and serial audiophile.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    13
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    37
    12
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "You'll never look at the world the same again"
    If you could sum up At Home in three words, what would they be?

    enlightening, fascinating, absorbing


    What did you like best about this story?

    The "real" stories about everyday things we take for granted (tea, for example) and how they came to be was extended to far away places and tied up in a big, fascinating package.


    What does Bill Bryson bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    His reading his own book in an authentic (but easily understood) British accent made the book that much more entertaining.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Yes.


    Any additional comments?

    The only part I could have left out was the last 5 minutes on global warming. Otherwise, I learned more from this book than I have from many others - and it was a very fun trip.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ellen EL CERRITO, CA, United States 08-02-12
    Ellen EL CERRITO, CA, United States 08-02-12 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    135
    6
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Lightly funny and full of fun facts."
    What did you love best about At Home?

    I know a lot of people love Bill Bryson, and because of that, I had tried to listen to A Walk in the Woods several years ago, but never made it very far. For some reason, at the time, I was really turned off by his tone; he seemed pretentious and rude. I never made it very far.

    But a friend was listening to this book at work and told me a few fun-facts she had learned from it. I decided to give Bryson a second try, and LOVED this book. I'm not sure what changed, but it was a pleasure to listen - all the way through.

    Fun facts about the history of the British country home.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Katherine Flammia Brookline, MA USA 06-29-12
    Katherine Flammia Brookline, MA USA 06-29-12
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    6
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Started out interesting"
    What did you love best about At Home?

    Loaded with interesting facts and things one wonders the origin of.


    What about Bill Bryson’s performance did you like?

    Wonderfully read.


    Any additional comments?

    I found it to become tedious though. Lists and lists of object and numbers. The man is number crazy. Amounts, costs, he counts and recounts everything. The other thing it is it seems to be ALL over the place. I often wondered "what does this have to do with The Home or house he is talking about. Like the very long section on surgery and and scurvy and all sorts of interesting things but for such a huge subject (essentially life and living) it seems you might want to make everything in the book a little more relevant to domestic life.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jean Reston, Virginia 06-18-12
    Jean Reston, Virginia 06-18-12 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
    278
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    236
    52
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    45
    11
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Definitely NOT boring, but..."

    I've read and love Bill Bryson's books, and this one is packed with information, fun, repulsive, fascinating all at once. But here's the but... His narration is taking away my ability to enjoy this book. He sounds either like an American trying on a British accent, or a Brit attempting a bad imitation of an American one. I feel a little disrespectful even saying this, and I don't doubt that he really speaks this way, having lived in England, but I keep telling myself to listen to what he's saying rather than how he's saying it. I will finish this audiobook, but I'm going to reread it in print.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bradie Ormond Utah 06-18-12
    Bradie Ormond Utah 06-18-12 Member Since 2012

    wyswyg

    HELPFUL VOTES
    12
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    30
    9
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Usually love Bryson, but this is a snooze fest."
    Would you try another book from Bill Bryson and/or Bill Bryson?

    Yes. I am anxiously awaiting the audio version of Seeing Further: The Story of Science, Discovery, and the Genius of the Royal Society .


    Has At Home turned you off from other books in this genre?

    No.


    What three words best describe Bill Bryson???s performance?

    milk toast


    You didn???t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    not really


    Any additional comments?

    Mr. Bryson laments the lack of history written and taught about the home. Maybe its because the history of the home is tedious, boring and depressing. I expected so much more having just finished the audio of A Short History...

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Report Inappropriate Content

If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.

Cancel

Thank you.

Your report has been received. It will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.