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At Home (Illustrated Edition): A short history of private life
What does history really consist of? Centuries of people quietly going about their daily business - sleeping, eating, having sex, endeavouring to get comfortable. And where did all these normal activities take place? At home.
This was the thought that inspired Bill Bryson to start a journey around the rooms of his own house, an 1851 Norfolk rectory, to consider how the ordinary things in life came to be. And what he discovered are surprising connections to anything from the Crystal Palace to the Eiffel Tower, from scurvy to body-snatching, from bedbugs to the Industrial Revolution, and just about everything else that has ever happened, resulting in one of the most entertaining and illuminating books ever written about the history of the way we live, enhanced in this new edition by hundreds of stunning photographs and illustrations.
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A work of constant delight and discovery. Bryson's wit is both dry and charmingly goofy. His great skill is to make daily life simultaneously strange and familiar, and in so doing, help us to recognise ourselves. At Home is a treasure: don't leave home without it. - Sunday Telegraph
Enchanting...a book about reinventing the ordinary, and finding the extraordinary in the humdrum business of living...Bryson tackled science in his brilliant A Short History of Nearly Everything. This new book could as easily be categorised as 'a short history of nearly everything else'...extraordinarily entertaining. - The Times
The much-loved writer takes the attention to detail that made A Short History of Nearly Everything such a fantastic guide to all things science, and applies it to our homes. Written in his laid-back style, this is a wonderful celebration of what makes a house a home. - News of the World
Quite as ambitious as his A Short History of Nearly Everything. This is a genuinely compelling book...a kind of layman's encyclopaedia full of 'did you know' moments...This companionable volume is as dense as a rich fruit cake and, by the same measure, rewarding, too. - Country Life
The method is to amass a dazzling number of facts and findings from disparate sources...riveting...arguing with Bryson is part of the enjoyment of reading him, and accompanying him across swathes of layered history. - Spectator
By rummaging down the back of the nation's sofa, Bryson has come up with a light-hearted and endlessly fascinating story...What you want from him is his wry humour and ability to raise a quizzical eyebrow at the sheer oddness of the human race. - Mail on Sunday
Bryson hoards facts. He can't resist a well-turned story...An idiosyncratic sweep through the makings of modernity. - Observer
At Home takes us on a tour not merely of Bryson's house but of the amazingly well-stocked mind of a man who can see a world in a grain of sand. He addresses his readers as if they were welcome visitors to his home whom he is eager both to inform and to entertain; he is a guide of inexhaustible patience, good humour, and irresistible enthusiasm. - The Lady
Entertaining, fact-packed...He is a cheery,idiosyncratic guide, eclectic rather than scholarly, a true populariser. At Home will have every reader eyeing home rather differently. - Financial Times
By now, Bryson is certainly famous enough to have got away with a a far less bulging compendium. Instead, on our behalf, he's been through those hundreds of books (508 according to the bibliography)....He's then extracted their most arresting material and turned the result into a book that, for all its winning randomness, is not just hugely readable but a genuine pageturner...None of these things, needless to say, are as easy as Bryson in his ever-genial way makes them seem. - Daily Telegraph
Effortlessly digestible prose, wry self-deprecating humour and lightly-worn erudition...everyone will find something to surprise them. - Economist
Join this amiable tour guide as he wanders through his house...it takes a very particular kind of thoughtfulness, as well as a bold temperament, to stuff all this research into a mattress that's supportive enough to loll about on while pondering the real subject of this book- the development of the modern world....Bryson's enthusiasm brightens any dull corner. I recommend that you hand over control and simply enjoy the ride. You'll be given a delightful smattering of information about everything but, weirdly, the kitchen sink. - New York Times Book Review
Exuberant...entertaining...Bryson is equeal to every interesting and curious fact. An unashamed and very good popularizer, he can sum up complicated motives and remarkable feats by a series of telling anecdotes. - Times Literary Supplement
For blockbuster Bill Bryson, no subject is too vast...So he could write a history of the world without leaving home. And very genially and quirkily he does...His theme is how nowadays we take home comfort for granted, but how recently we obtained it...he is very good company indeed. - Daily Mail
Delightful...Considering our homes means a dash through history, politics, science, sex, and dozens of other fields. If this book doesn't supply you with five years' worth of dinner conversation, you're not paying attention. - People Magazine
Bill Bryson’s bestselling travel books include The Lost Continent, A Walk in the Woods and Notes from a Small Island, which in a national poll was voted the book that best represents Britain. His acclaimed book on the history of science, A Short History of Nearly Everything, won the Royal Society’s Aventis Prize as well as the Descartes Prize, the European Union’s highest literary award. He has written books on language, on Shakespeare, and on his own childhood in the hilarious memoir The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid. His last critically lauded bestseller was At Home: a Short History of Private Life: his new book One Summer: America 1927 is published in September 2013. He was born in the American Mid-West, and lives in the UK.