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

At Home by Bill Bryson
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really liked it

I found this book to be very illuminating. It is well-researched, but it reads more like a conversation than a history treatise. Bryson introduces characters who recur in the story, but in different roles. The end result is a fullness of understanding that is beyond the sum of the facts. In short, you are immersed in their history through their lives.

One thought I had towards the end - after the discussion of how children are treated - is how people will look on us in the future. Certainly our society will seem strange to them too, right? I actually spent the last chapter with this in my mind and it may have taken away from the discussion of the landed gentry's troubles, along with the plight of the good parson.

It was a very enjoyable book. I do enjoy his style and it's inevitable that it suffers a comparison to "A Short History of Nearly Everything", which is imnsho, one of the best books for non-scientists to explain the world/universe/life/primordial history and for scientists to speak to other people about what they know. At Home pales a bit by comparison, but its value at framing ourselves in the context of human history is undeniable.


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Quotes Michael Liked

Bill Bryson
“Crowding in many London districts was almost unimaginable. In St. Giles, the worst of London’s rookeries—scene of William Hogarth’s famous engraving Gin Lane—fifty-four thousand people crowded into just a few streets. By one count, eleven hundred people lived in twenty-seven houses along one alley; that is more than forty people per dwelling. In Spitalfields, farther east, inspectors found sixty-three people living in a single house. The house had nine beds—one for every seven occupants. A new word, of unknown provenance, sprang into being to describe such neighborhoods: slums.”
Bill Bryson, At Home: A Short History of Private Life

Reading Progress

September 6, 2014 – Shelved
April 11, 2015 –
page 220
44.27% (Hardcover Edition)
April 19, 2015 – Started Reading
April 19, 2015 –
52.0% "great stuff - loved tge discussion about our animal neighbors"
June 7, 2015 – Finished Reading

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