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Bryson's best work - worth RE-reading

5out of 5

by jeff a on February 9, 2012

Easily the best work this author has ever done. Using the many rooms in his Norfolk home as individual launching points for discussion of how "the home" and the set of affordances in it came to be, Bryson plays a James Burke role in connecting innovation (both social & technological) to individual items most people now take for granted.

In this journey, he relishes promoting unknown or forgotten industrial "heroes" and inventors, describing specifically how they changed the course of material history. It's a pure pleasure, even when he jettisons his model -- as he does when he gets to "The Cellar", pretty much ignoring the room in favour of a totally-engaging discourse on the history of building materials -- a subject to more apt for the cellar than for any other room in a home.

Informative, engaging, fun, useful. If I was stranded on a desert island with only six books to choose to have, this would make the cut.
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Reviewed by jeff a

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