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Publisher's Summary

Who invented beds? When did we start cleaning our teeth? How old are wine and beer? Which came first: the toilet seat or toilet paper? What was the first clock?

Every day, from the moment our alarm clock wakes us in the morning until our head hits our pillow at night, we all take part in rituals that are millennia old. Structured around one ordinary day, A Million Years in a Day reveals the astonishing origins and development of the daily practices we take for granted. In this gloriously entertaining romp through human history, Greg Jenner explores the gradual—and often unexpected—evolution of our daily routines.

This is not a story of wars, politics, or great events. Instead, Jenner has scoured Roman rubbish bins, Egyptian tombs, and Victorian sewers to bring us the most intriguing, surprising, and sometimes downright silly historical nuggets from our past.

Drawn from across the world, spanning a million years of humanity, this book is a smorgasbord of historical delights. It is a history of all those things you always wondered about—and many you have never considered. It is the story of your life, one million years in the making.

"[Jenner] crafts some fine aphorisms ('History doesn't repeat itself—people do'), and it would be a staggeringly learned person who could not glean anything new from this work." —The Wall Street Journal

©2015 Greg Jenner (P)2016 Tantor

Critic Reviews

"Erudite, witty, and packed with things you've never thought about." (Dr. Peter Frankopan, author of Silk Roads)

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Super interesting!

Loved it. Very entertaining and full of odd and interesting facts. A BBC style doc for your ears.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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I returned this book

The premise of this book is outstanding. Understanding the development of our modern world in the context of a single day was compelling.

BUT I could not tolerate the lame jokes, wise cracking metaphors, and snide references to current events. Regrettably, the narrator struggles with the puerile tone. And that combination had me throwing in the towel.

An alternative I'd recommend is Bill Bryson's At Home.