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Manual At Home: A Short History of Private Life (Bryson)

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At Home: A Short History of Private Life by Bill Bryson

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase. Imagine, if you please, that you are a teenager visiting an elderly uncle at his country estate. When he offers to show you around his home, you accept his suggestion out of politeness, although you suspect that he will turn out to be a bore. By the end of the day, you have seen all the rooms and — contrary to your expectations — your uncle has completely captivated you with his stories! This is no ordinary uncle.

Bill Bryson is a well-known American-English journalist and author, whose repertoire spans popular science, architecture, geography, history and much else. In this book, he turns his gaze towards the rooms in his own residence — and regales the reader with stories inspired by each of them. The house described in this book was built by Thomas Marsham, an English clergyman in exactly a hundred years before the birth of the author.

Not surprisingly, we learn a lot about Victorian England — be it the Crystal Palace built for the Great Exhibition of or the stately homes of the aristocracy, with their grand gardens and armies of domestic staff. The scale of disruption — the trenches, the muddy excavations, the congestion of wagons and other vehicles, the smoke, the din, the clutter — that came from filling the city with railways, bridges, sewers, pumping stations, power stations, underground lines and all the rest meant that Victorian London was not just the biggest city in the world, but the noisiest, foulest, muddiest, busiest, most choked and dug-over place the world had ever seen.

We learn quite a bit about American history; including details of Monticello and Mount Vernon, the cherished homes built by Thomas Jefferson and George Washington respectively.

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To my mind, the most interesting part of the book is the connection between India, China and America, whose destinies were tied together by the unlikely trio of opium, tea and sugar. At first glance, it appears that the book is just disjointed trivia. But more details emerge as one proceeds from one chapter to the next and the reader realizes that Bryson is much more than a connoisseur of trivia.

This book is not only a comprehensive social history, but it also contains valuable biographical material on dozens of famous persons — including Thomas Edison, Gustave Eiffel, Charles Darwin, Alexander Graham Bell and the Italian architect Palladio. The author displays both wit and wisdom in this book.


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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase. I am a great fan of Bill Bryson. I have read 4 of his books and enjoyed each of them. I was hoping that his book will be similar to 'A Short History of Nearly Everything", explaining a lot of interesting about the history of development of home with funny anecdotes and humorous writing.

👍听书👍《趣味生活简史 At Home: A Short History of Private Life》【比尔·布莱森 Bill Bryson】

It found it too heavy on information but lacking the humor that is characteristic of Bill. Kept reading hoping that it will become more fun as I progress, but I gave after reading odd pages. I wouldn't recommend this to anyone, unless then can get past the dry writing for sake of learning about the history of home building in Britain. One person found this helpful.

At Home: A Short History of Private Life

A great read. As a third world architect, I was curious about the various aspects of design of a European house. Bryson has compiled huge information about the origin of almost everything that we have in the house. And of course the tounge in cheek style of writing by Bryson has made him a favorite all over the world. Excellent Read Bill Bryson is always worth reading. An excellent book.


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A must-buy for anyone who loves Bryson's books and for anyone with love for English! Value for Money. Good buy!


  • Bill Bryson: At Home: A Short History Of Private Life?
  • At Home A Short History of Private Life?
  • Bill Bryson.
  • Bill Bryson was struck one day by the thought that we devote a lot 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 - eating, sleeping and merely endeavouring to get more comfortable. And that most of the key discoveries for humankind can be found in the very fabric of the houses in which we live. This inspired him to start a journey around his own house, an old rectory in Norfolk, wandering from room to room considering how the ordinary things in life came to be.

    Along the way he did a prodigious amount of research on 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 on the brilliant, creative and often eccentric minds behind them. And he discovered that, although there may seem to be nothing as unremarkable as our domestic lives, there is a huge amount of history, interest and excitement - and even a little danger - lurking in the corners of every home.

    At Home: A Short History of Private Life by Bill Bryson: review

    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. This new book could as easily be categorised as 'a short history of nearly everything else' Written in his laid-back style, this is a wonderful celebration of what makes a house a home.

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    This is a genuinely compelling book This companionable volume is as dense as a rich fruit cake and, by the same measure, rewarding, too. Bill Bryson was born in Des Moines, Iowa, in In a national poll, Notes from a Small Island was voted the book that best represents Britain. His new book The Body: A Guide for Occupants is an extraordinary exploration of the human body which will have you marvelling at the form you occupy.

    Bill Bryson was Chancellor of Durham University — He is an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Society. He lives in England. For the latest books, recommendations, offers and more. By signing up, I confirm that I'm over View all newsletter. Paperback Audio CD Audio Download Books Categories. Children's Children's 0 - 18 months 18 months - 3 years 3 - 5 years 5 - 7 years 7 - 9 years 9 - 12 years View all children's. Puffin Ladybird.

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