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Radio 4's History of Private Life (BBC Audio) Audio CD – Audiobook, 5 Aug 2010

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Product details

  • Audio CD
  • Publisher: BBC Audiobooks Ltd (5 Aug. 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1408467453
  • ISBN-13: 978-1408467459
  • Product Dimensions: 14.4 x 2.4 x 13.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (50 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 698,692 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By G. Wake VINE VOICE on 17 Nov. 2010
Format: Audio CD Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
These are a pleasant set of audio CDs, interesting without quite being compelling listening, the narrators explanations are broken up with readings from historical texts like cookbooks and diaries and renditions of songs from the period, all of which are very well presented. I very much like the songs folk songs, especially the housewife's lament fragments of which are repeated though out.

Unlike many other historical programmes I have seen and heard over the years this one attempts to find suitable regional accents to report each old text, so not every voice is straight out of the home counties, though it is strange that a 19th Century daughter of the Northumberland Baron Ravensworth is represented as speaking in a haughty, southern accent.

I like these CDs but there are a few niggles. Not all of the episodes are equally interesting and the repeated tales of downtrodden wives and other unhappy women seem to dominate long sections of the set and it can involve an effort to pay attention though the dull bits. Overall this a good set, it could be a little better but I'm happy to have listened to it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Paul M VINE VOICE on 28 Nov. 2010
Format: Audio CD
Amanda Vickery's A History of Private Life is a fascinating series of docmentaries infused with clever folk interludes, and acted parts.

Almost a docu - drama, but more an intriguing glimpse into our ancesters home lifes, this series is entertaining, amusing and informative in equal measures.
What I enjoyed most about this series is its complete lack of sentimentality for home life in previous times [ give me my microwave, and other modern devices over toil and pans any day ! ], but as a fun and revealing socio- historical series this is worth its weight in gold.

However, it is not just the home that is put into a historical context, but the immense social changes that have helped shape our history are explained in a homely and personal context

Each of the discs and episodes have facts and anecdotes that amuse, delight, and sometimes disturb, but in particular, the sixth disc, where Empire, Victoriana,and the Twentieth Century are given a dispassionate and measured appraisal.

For anyone interested in a bit of light, informative, and fun historical listening, this series is well worth a go .
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Les Williams TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 23 Dec. 2010
Format: Audio CD Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Spread over 6 CDs this has the thirty 15 minute episodes broadcast on Radio 4. Meticulously researched from letters, diaries, wills etc it gives an insight into private lives in the 16th to 20th centuries. Each 15 minute section uses a mix of songs, poems and drama to tell the tale.
Episodes include the importance of the bed in the 16th century, the status of pots and pans in the 17th, tea and who the servants slept with in the 18th, the love of wallpaper in the 19th and suburbia in the 20th.
As intended, as a 15 minute complete program, it works well, however I didn't find it kept my interest after that; I transferred them to my MP3 player for single episode "listens". I would have also liked more episodes on the 20th century where I think the greatest changes to family life have occurred.
I can appreciate the amount of work involved in putting this together, it just didn't work as a CD.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Charlie-CJ HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWER on 30 Oct. 2010
Format: Audio CD Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Historian Amanda Vickery presents a radio 4 series dating from 2009 which reveals the hidden history of the British home over the last 500 years, 'all pieced together from first-hand accounts, letters, confessions, wills, diaries, autobiographies, inventories, advertisements, burglary trials, and upholsterers' ledgers'. So it is largely a series of quotes and anecdotes from many sources, although naturally it tends to be slightly biased towards the upper echelons of society as they were the ones blessed with literacy. Originally a thirty part series, it was broadcast over 6 weeks, with each week having a theme and moving from the 16th to the 20th century. The episodes include looks at the privy [water closet], protecting the home against burglary, the middle class love of wallpaper, home medicines, and the love/hate relationship women have with sewing. The series is the culmination of 20 years research combing the archives of England.

The programmes are very varied: 'Some are funny, some are dark - like the terrible diary of domestic violence from the early nineteenth century. Some have dozens of voices in them, some are just the story of one person, drawn from intimate letters and diaries.' Amanda Vickery also searched libraries for relevant [18th and 19th century] songs about drunken husbands, burglars, and housework. And she found some gems: a protest song about women's servitude from the 18th century; a comic song about seducing a woman who never stops talking; and 'The Housewife's Lament', in which an early nineteenth century housewife describes the unremitting toil of her life, cleaning, cooking, ironing, and imagines a never-ending tide of dirt coming towards her. The recordings also feature actors and singers, as well as narration.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By S. Hebbron on 16 Aug. 2011
Format: Audio CD
This audiobook was originally a "one episode each week day" radio broadcast, over six weeks on BBC Radio 4. It is a joy to find it in cojoined format and one listening experience, each episode being about 15 minutes long and clearly marked out as such. The series is a layer cake of well researched, lively morsels and nuggets of real, documented, human experiences which help illuminate Vickery's broad ideas about the cultural norms and expectations of domestic life, travelling along a very extensive time line. Vickery has an intelligent, informative, homely and easy air about her which somehow stears away from the expectation of boring, stuffy, high brow, intellectual lecture style material, one might expect to hear from the lips of a well respected Professor. Yet Professor she is and her research and interpretation is undoubtedly high brow and intellectual in the extreme, but you never get a sense of that as you learn in a warm, gentle, innocently gossipy kind of way (aided to some degree by Vickery's charming and comforting Lancashire accent). Note how the domestic never strays far from what is the social, secular and psychological norm of any given time; which can only serve to give us greater understanding of our own times. To say this is brilliant is an understatement and what I love so much about Historians like Vickery (I adore Ruth Goodman and Lucy Worsley for similar reasons) is that they have broken a cultural norm in their work and changed our times by throwing very searching lights on aspects of history that are not wholly concerned with the big stuff, war, disease, famine, politics, monarchy, invasions etc. Moreover they let us know clearly how the big stuff impacts what was once considered small and inconsequential.Read more ›
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