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 (4277 )
5 star
 (2288)
4 star
 (1321)
3 star
 (484)
2 star
 (135)
1 star
 (49)
Overall
4.4 (2830 )
5 star
 (1617)
4 star
 (795)
3 star
 (316)
2 star
 (77)
1 star
 (25)
Story
4.4 (2835 )
5 star
 (1633)
4 star
 (786)
3 star
 (301)
2 star
 (90)
1 star
 (25)
Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    AberrantWolf Denver, CO 08-28-15
    AberrantWolf Denver, CO 08-28-15 Member Since 2015
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    18
    5
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Wandering and random, and I love it!"

    The author covers an enormous range of topics, often only loosely related to the topic of each chapter, but it doesn't matter because it's all interesting. The history presented is often surprisingly intertwined.

    The author himself, who performs, is sometimes less clear in pronunciation and less compelling in emotion as I would like, but he is easily enough understood; and I think it lends an interesting subtext having the author read his own book to you. :P

    Recommended if you, like I, enjoy all the random bits of trivia knowledge. If you want a cohesive, narrative history, then this is not for you.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    The Oldbat Houston, Texas 08-17-15
    The Oldbat Houston, Texas 08-17-15 Member Since 2006
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    3
    2
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Interesting approach to a "walk through history""
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Absolutely. If you have an interest in the origin of words and customs, you will love this book.


    What about Bill Bryson’s performance did you like?

    Bill Bryson entertains with humor and a speaking voice that is pleasant for listening. He doesn't "yell" at you but doesn't put you to sleep either.


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

    Not really. I found it interesting but not particularly funny and did not make me cry.


    Any additional comments?

    The book may have gone a little long and he lingered a little long on some aspects of his walk through the house but generally fun and I learned some things about the origins of words and customs.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gary 07-27-15
    Gary 07-27-15
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    5
    4
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Great."

    Wonderful writer, always and every time. He is on point in every detail. I love his work.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    jason oyer 07-22-15
    jason oyer 07-22-15
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    2
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Another GREAT Novel by Bill Bryson"

    Great Novel- I can't give it a better rating than A Short History of Nearly Everything though.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Donald Frankenfeld Rapid City, SD USA 07-21-15
    Donald Frankenfeld Rapid City, SD USA 07-21-15 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
    15
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    7
    3
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "First rate"

    A fascinating book, and perfect for the Age of Short Attention Spans, as Bryson strings his facts together with only the barest hint of connective narrative. With an author of less skill this would be annoying. But Bryson leaves you with a sense of loss with each subject from which he departs so quickly, and a sense of anticipatory riches for whatever comes as his next surprise.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David 07-16-15
    David 07-16-15 Member Since 2014
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    16
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Outstanding book!"

    Great book. As always Mr. Bryson provides an incredible amount of information in an enjoyable and easy to understand format. I was constantly amazed at how he is always able to tie all the details together no matter where or how he starts a particular part of the history.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Chad Muskegon, MI, United States 07-10-15
    Chad Muskegon, MI, United States 07-10-15
    HELPFUL VOTES
    11
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    20
    7
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Lots of facts, hard to follow story"

    There is supposed to be a flow, but I found it hard to follow. Lots of interesting information though.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Letitia 07-01-15
    Letitia 07-01-15
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    9
    3
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Delightful and informative"
    Any additional comments?

    Bryson is always entertaining. He is funny; his narration is wonderful and his research terrific. Love this author always.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mark Elliott Smith Incline Village, Nevada 07-01-15
    Mark Elliott Smith Incline Village, Nevada 07-01-15 Member Since 2014
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    35
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A fascinating trip down a surprisingly diverse range of topics"

    One of the best histories I've read. Very personalized and with interesting insight into both the UK and the USA.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Peter and Katherine 06-29-15 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
    55
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    97
    46
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1
    3
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "One of My Favorite Bryson Books"
    Any additional comments?

    Bill Bryson just has this wonderful way of educating us in the most entertaining manner. This is more text book than "A Walk in the Woods" but also far more educational and surprising. Its my second favorite of his works.

    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.