Auto boutiques-francophones Simple and secure cloud storage fallcleaning Crocktober Music Deals Store Tools NFL
  • List Price: CDN$ 34.95
  • You Save: CDN$ 1.76 (5%)
Only 3 left in stock (more on the way).
Ships from and sold by
Gift-wrap available.
At Home: A Short History ... has been added to your Cart
FREE Shipping on orders over CDN$ 25.
Used: Very Good | Details
Condition: Used: Very Good
Comment: The inside is like new. The dust jacket has some light wear. The spine is tight and uncreased. Packaged and shipped by Amazon Canada.
Have one to sell?
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

At Home: A Short History of Private Life Hardcover – Oct 5 2010

27 customer reviews

See all 18 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price
New from Used from
"Please retry"
CDN$ 33.19
CDN$ 21.00 CDN$ 4.80

No Kindle device required. Download one of the Free Kindle apps to start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, and computer.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone
  • Android

To get the free app, enter your e-mail address or mobile phone number.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Doubleday Canada; 1st Edition edition (Oct. 5 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385661630
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385661638
  • Product Dimensions: 16.2 x 4 x 24.2 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 907 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #91,727 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description


"Bryson is fascinated by everything, and his curiosity is infectious . . . [his] enthusiasm brightens any dull corner. . . . You'll be given a delightful smattering of information about everything but . . . the kitchen sink."
The New York Times Book Review

"Bryson's gift for finding amazing facts and fascinating connections between people and events makes this another enjoyable sprawling read through many things you didn't know you wanted to know."
— National Post

“Absolutely fascinating.”
—The Moderate Voice

About the Author

BILL BRYSON's 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, The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid and Bryson's Dictionary for Writers and Editors. Bryson lives in England with his wife and children.

See all Product Description

Inside This Book

(Learn More)
Browse Sample Pages
Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
Search inside this book:

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
Share your thoughts with other customers

Most helpful customer reviews

18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By C. J. Thompson TOP 1000 REVIEWER on Oct. 11 2010
Format: Hardcover
It is not possible to state, with any precision, what this book is about. It would probably be closer to say it is about just about everything as opposed to anything in particular. Mr Bryson uses the various rooms in his Victorian parsonage as inspiration for essay subjects and then skips onwards and upwards in ever more prodigious bounds to touch on the most disparate and delightful topics...

Did you know that ambergris is an intestinal accretion in sperm whales composed of partially digested squid beaks? I did know that actually, but it wasn't until I read this book that I learned that the substance has a vanilla like taste and Thomas Jefferson enjoyed eating it with eggs. Similarly, until delving into this rich little tome I remained totally ignorant of the unique method used by certain rats at a poultry market in Greenwich Village to steal eggs without breaking them (I won't spoil the book by spilling the secret here, though.)

Sometimes, Mr Bryson's research is a little shaky, indeed I noted one point where he is categorically wrong, but I bought this book for entertainment, not as a research tool for a doctoral thesis. Happily, that is exactly what I got.
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again.
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Alison S. Coad TOP 50 REVIEWER on Oct. 22 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Bill Bryson has an inquisitive mind; when he sets out to learn the history of the dining room, for example, he does so by way of tracing the history of the spice trade as it impacted Britain, which of course leads to a discussion of the East India Company, but which also leads to an explanation as to why salt and pepper are the common condiments found on every dining room table, as well as the arrival of tea and coffee to the UK, the reason why dinner moved from a midday meal to one sometimes quite late at night and much much more. His new book, At Home: A Short History of Private Life, is a delightful wander through his own home, a former parsonage built in 1851, and while I'm not sure that I learned a lot about how specific rooms came to serve different purposes, I did learn a lot about, among other things, why the US became powerful when Canada did not (it has to do with the Erie Canal, which displaced the perfectly usable - and already existent - St. Lawrence Seaway as being the chief means of transporting goods to and from the interior of the continent), how cholera affected all classes though it was first considered a (deserved) disease of the poor, and why John Lubbock was so important to British history, yet so forgotten now. I read it straight through, but it would also work very well as a book to dip into from time to time, reading the odd chapter here and there, and giving one's brain the opportunity to absorb all the fascinating trivia included on every page. Highly recommended.
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Jennifer Cameron-Smith TOP 50 REVIEWER on Oct. 10 2010
Format: Hardcover
For many of us, history is about battles and wars and well-known historical figures. But these events and those lives take place amidst centuries in which most people quietly live their lives striving for food, shelter and a degree of comfort. Bill Bryson realised that we can learn more about history by looking at the homes in which we live, and how they have developed.

This led Bill Bryson to journey around his own home, an old rectory in the UK. As he travelled from room to room, considering how the home developed and how the functions of rooms have evolved over time, his research and reading uncovered some fascinating information. The book is organised by room, and the history behind each room leads us through topics as diverse as architecture, electricity and the telephone, food preservation, the search for and use of spices, epidemics, toilets, crinolines and servants. In surveying his home from cellar to attic, Bill Bryson provides information about the developments and inventions (such as the fireplace) that have enabled mankind to build bigger homes. The house Mr Bryson lives in was built in 1851, and while some aspects of the original design will be familiar to most of us almost 160 years later, the house itself has been adapted for the world of relative comfort enabled by electricity.

I found this book fascinating. Reading about how homes have evolved: consider the hall. Once the hall was the most important part of a home, now it exists as an antechamber- a place for donning, shedding and storing hats and coats. Moving from a communal hall to rooms with separate functions and purposes took time, relative prosperity - and servants.
Read more ›
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again.
Format: Hardcover
This book caught my attention, in part, because I have read other books by the author and enjoyed them. I was also drawn to the topic, which purported to be a short history on private life. Well, while I enjoyed it overall, the author definitely went off on tangents and did not really deliver what he promised.

The author used his own home, a nineteenth century rectory, as the starting point for each chapter, which is named after each room in his home, plus the garden. As he goes through each of the chapters, which are really somewhat like essays in which he ruminates about the room and the things associated with them, he does goes off in many directions that often have little to do with the room in question. It is as if each room were merely a vehicle for expounding on various historical references and issues that caught his fancy.

Still, I found it enjoyable and interesting, though I do wonder about some of the assertions the author made, especially since the book contained an extensive bibliography but no footnotes or sources for his "history". In the final analysis, the book is a hodgepodge of historical trivia, tidbits that are often interesting and amusing, but hardly elevate to a cohesive history of any kind. It is a work of pure self-indulgence by the author and a guilty pleasure for the reader.
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again.

Most recent customer reviews