Jonathan's Reviews > At Home: A Short History of Private Life

At Home by Bill Bryson
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Mar 08, 11

bookshelves: absolute-favorites, history, made-me-laugh, nonfiction
Read from February 22 to March 07, 2011

The best book by Bryson that I have read. Bryson walks through his home, a 19th-century rectory in England, and uses each room as a spring-board for a discussion of the history and cultural, sociological, and economic developments associated with that room. Some of these connections go back to the 14th century, how the development of the chimney allowed the creation of additional floors and so changed the 'hall' from the whole house a passageway. Others are tangential, as when Bryson uses a chapter on the cellar (which I think we would call basement) to write about the Eiffel Tower and structural steel. So what if it seems that Bryson uses some chapters as excuses to write about marginally related things? He is one of the most widely knowledgeable, most engaging, and brightest writers today, and this book is extremely delightful, satisfying, and educating to read.
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