It struck Bill Bryson one day that we devote a lot more time to the Wars of the Roses or the Normandy Landings than considering what most of history really consists of: centuries upon centuries of people quietly going about their daily business - eating, sleeping, having sex, endeavouring to be amused. So he started a journey around his house, an old rectory in Norfolk, wandering from room to room considering how the ordinary things in life came to be. Along the way he allowed himself delightful digressions on the history of everything from architecture to epidemics, from food preservation to the discovery of electricity, and from crinolines to toilets. And to his dismay, he also encountered a terrifying variety of dangers to our health and happiness. Where the prizewinning "A Short History of Nearly Everything" was a sweeping survey of Earth, the universe and everything, "At Home" is an inwards look at all human life through a domestic telescope. Because, as Bryson says, our homes aren't refuges from history. They are where history begins and ends.
I would agree generally with the above description especially book is very much an extension of " A Short History of Nearly Everything". This book is loosely based around the home, however, it does branch off at times to cover what may have been missed in the earlier book. The division between 'home' and 'nearly everything' blurs occasionally, though that said it is all worthy and interesting.
This is such an interesting book. It gives such informed perspective of how modern homes came to be and is hard to put down. As a long-term Bill Bryson fan I was hesitant to buy because it seemed like a strange subject to base a book on, but it has proven to be just as interesting as "A Short History of Nearly Everything" and I find myself throwing little known facts learnt from this book into everyday conversations. It is an absolute Gem!
This might be just about the only book by Bill Bryson that I have not read ... and I have to say that I had the same reservations as you did... maybe I should give it a try as I did like all of his other books... and especialy the travel ones:-) Walk in the Woods is still my favorite... but how can one replicate Katz?