At Home: Special Illustrated Edition: A Short History of Private Life

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9780385537285: At Home: Special Illustrated Edition: A Short History of Private Life
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From one of our most beloved authors, a fascinating excursion into the history behind the place we call home—now richly illustrated with more than three hundred images.

National bestseller At Home is Bill Bryson’s epic chronicle of domestic history. In this handsome new edition, his riveting room-by-room journey of discovery around his house—a Victorian parsonage in southern England—is enhanced by more than three hundred carefully curated illustrations, the large majority
of them in full color. As he did in the hugely successful A Short History of Nearly Everything: Illustrated Edition, Bryson complements his sparkling prose with striking illustrations selected from a wide array of sources to create a feast for the eyes as well as the mind. He has one of the liveliest, most inquisitive brains on the planet, and he is a master at turning the seemingly mundane into an occasion for the most diverting exposition imaginable. When you’ve finished this book, you will see your house—and your daily life—in a new and revelatory light.
     In Bill Bryson’s hands, the bathroom provides the occasion for the history of hygiene; the bedroom for an account of sex, death, and sleep; the kitchen for a discussion of nutrition and the spice trade. From architecture to electricity, from food preservation to epidemics, from the telephone to the Eiffel Tower, from crinolines to toilets—and the brilliant, creative, and often eccentric minds behind them—Bryson demonstrates that whatever happens in the world ends up in our houses, in the paint and the pipes and the pillows and every item of furniture.

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Amazon Best Books of the Month, October 2010: Bill Bryson (A Short History of Nearly Everything) turns his attention from science to society in his authoritative history of domesticity, At Home: A Short History of Private Life. While walking through his own home, a former Church of England rectory built in the 19th century, Bryson reconstructs the fascinating history of the household, room by room. With waggish humor and a knack for unearthing the extraordinary stories behind the seemingly commonplace, he examines how everyday items--things like ice, cookbooks, glass windows, and salt and pepper--transformed the way people lived, and how houses evolved around these new commodities. "Houses are really quite odd things," Bryson writes, and, luckily for us, he is a writer who thrives on oddities. He gracefully draws connections between an eclectic array of events that have affected home life, covering everything from the relationship between cholera outbreaks and modern landscaping, to toxic makeup, highly flammable hoopskirts, and other unexpected hazards of fashion. Fans of Bryson's travel writing will find plenty to love here; his keen eye for detail and delightfully wry wit emerge in the most unlikely places, making At Home an engrossing journey through history, without ever leaving the house. --Lynette Mong

About the Author:

Bill Bryson’s many bestselling books include A Walk in the Woods, I’m a Stranger Here Myself, In a Sunburned Country, Bryson’s Dictionary of Troublesome Words, A Short History of Nearly Everything (which earned him the 2004 Aventis Prize), The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid, and Bryson’s Dictionary for Writers and Editors. He lives in England with his wife.

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