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4.5 out of 5 stars31
4.5 out of 5 stars
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Showing 1-2 of 2 reviews(2 star). Show all reviews
on December 1, 2012
This work is not so much a history of private life in the UK and the United States as a wide collection of anecdotes on this theme, taken broadly. These touch the 1851 London Exhibition, the construction of Blenheim Palace and the Erie Canal, the working conditions in 19th century mines, the growth of sugar consumption in Victorian Great Britain, etc., etc., etc.

The narrative is given some framework by being organized around the rooms of the author's British home. Thus, the kitchen provides the excuse to discuss food matters whereas the nursery leads to a discussion of children. Often, these links are truly thin as when the fuse box is considered a room to introduce the topic of electricity.

The author does not pose to be a historian and clearly subscribes to the idea that `something printed is something true `, no matter how implausible. He does not search for alternate sources that may provide nuance ... or contradiction.

The overall result is a hodgepodge of tidbits that is certainly amusing but not truly worthy of an investment in time and energy.
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on December 15, 2010
I'm a HUGE Bryson fan- I love his wit, as well as his ability to make tediously dry subjects such as quantum mechanics interesting.
I was chomping at the bit for this latest book. I must admit- I couldn't get through it. I can promise you, I've never read any book that contains more words about what various people throughout the ages ate.
Painful.
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