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At Home: A Short History of Private Life

Unabridged Audiobook

Written By: Bill Bryson

Narrated By: Bill Bryson

Date: October 2010

Duration: 16 hours 33 minutes


From one of the most beloved authors of our  time—more than six million copies of his books have been sold in this country alone—a fascinating excursion into the history behind the place we call home.

“Houses aren’t refuges from history. They are where history ends up.”
Bill Bryson and his family live in a Victorian parsonage in a part of England where nothing of any great significance has happened since the Romans decamped. Yet one day, he began to consider how very little he knew about the ordinary things of life as he found it in that comfortable home. To remedy this, he formed the idea of journeying about his house from room to room to “write a history of the world without leaving home.” The bathroom provides the occasion for a history of hygiene; the bedroom, sex, death, and sleep; the kitchen, nutrition and the spice trade; and so on, as Bryson shows how each has fig­ured in the evolution of private life. Whatever happens in the world, he demonstrates, ends up in our house, in the paint and the pipes and the pillows and every item of furniture.

Bill Bryson has one of the liveliest, most inquisitive minds on the planet, and he is a master at turning the seemingly isolated or mundane fact into an occasion for the most diverting exposi­tion imaginable. His wit and sheer prose fluency make At Home one of the most entertaining books ever written about private life.


  • Roman S

    Another excellent work by Bill Bryson. Full of enlightening and surprising information. Not as humorous as his other books, but still wonderful. My only criticism is a relative lack of non-British/US context. Was surprised by Bryson's charming British accent. Always thought of him as an American author.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful.

  • Beverly Leach

    I have read or listened to other Bill Bryson books and really like his work. But "At Home" was quite different from what I had expected. By using each room in a house as a jumping off point, he was able to go through great swaths of mostly British and some American history in the last 300 years. And the interesting and curious things mostly lead one to conclude that people are violent, stupid and sadistic. It was insightful, often entertaining, and made me question again and again my own viewpoints. I highly recommend it.

  • j s

    Very good book... What could be a very dry subject, is very interesting. Pretty sure it's Bryson's narration that sells it.

  • Kathryn Townsend

    Interesting book packed with interesting facts within a fast moving narrative. No possible way to get bored with this one. Took a bit to adjust to Bill Bryson's voice. Not what I imagined him to sound like! But he does wonderful job. Thanks Bill for all your works!

  • Manasi Kashyap

    A fascinating insight into things that relate to our lives. I might listen to the whole book again! I highly recommend this book to others who are curious about the details of their everyday lives. Thank you Bill Bryson for making the mundane so interesting!!

  • Georgia P

    Well documented and well researched history of everyday life - entertaining!

  • Anonymous

    The book is excellent. But it is the Bill Bryson reading it. He has a very big accent and very hard to be understood. That is sad because the book is very interesting.

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by Bill Bryson

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At Home: A Short History of Private Life, Bill Bryson
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