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 ...
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.
New. 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 title presents a history of the way we live. Num Pages: 560 pages, 400 colour illustrations integrated throughout. BIC Classification: HBTB. Category: (G) General (US: Trade). Dimension: 249 x 204 x 38. Weight in Grams: 1752. 2013. Illustrated ed. Hardcover.....We ship daily from our Bookshop.
I enjoyed reading the book a lot. Bill Bryson asnwers a lot of questions you never knew you had.
Only reason for four stars is that it is a little lightweight in spots and of course, there were maybe a billion other questions that he didn't answer that I wish he had.
I was genuinely sorry when the book was done, as I wanted more.
Feb 9, 2012
Bryson's best work - worth RE-reading
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.
Nov 3, 2011
Gets very boring and disconnected. Not his best book.
Nov 3, 2011
This is one of the best, most enjoyable, entertaining, and informative books I've ever read. Full of fascinating but little-known information presented with grace and humor. Reminds of the old PBS series, Connections, with James Burke.
Feb 24, 2011
A Must Have
This is a fascinating book; one you'll want to keep for a long time. Bryson's unique humor enlivens the history of why we live the way we do and how the rooms we live in and the things we live with have come to be named. It's one of those books you never want to finish because it's so good.
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