With characteristic wry humor and sharp wit, Bryson takes us on a journey through his home and what the different rooms of a home have meant through the ages. A thought provoking book, filled with all the great Bryson lines that are so funny you have to stop and read them out loud to the person next to you. I loved this book!
Bill Bryson was inspired to write "At Home: A Short History of Private Life" after moving into a former Church of England rectory in the small village of Norfolk in the eastern most part of England. The idea came to him when he discovered a secret door in the attic. The tiny rooftop space about fifty feet above the ground provided a panoramic view of two ancient churches and the timeless English countryside. Bryson says the glorious view reminded him of the two thousand years of human activity and how little he knew abut the history of the domestic world around him. He says, "We are so used to having a lot of comfort in our lives - to being clean, warm and well fed - that we forget how recent most of that is. In fact, it took us forever to achieve these things, and then they mostly came in a rush." His book provides the history about how it all happened. Bryson found, to his surprise, that what happens in the world, whatever is discovered, created or bitterly fought over, eventually ends up in our house. Wars, famines, Industrial Revolution and the Enlightenment are in the paint of our walls, the folds of our curtains and the water in our pipes. Bryson's historical account of humankind's domestic history is both fascinating and informative. "At Home" is funny, fun and insightful. However it is my least favorite Bryson book as it is more serious and less personal and succinct.