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If Walls Could Talk: An intimate history of the home Hardcover – 1 Apr 2011

4.6 out of 5 stars 121 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Faber and Faber (1 April 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0571259529
  • ISBN-13: 978-0571259526
  • Product Dimensions: 16.5 x 3.3 x 24.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (121 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 368,346 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

'Fascinating history ... it is very useful to have these histories of different purposes brought together under one banner ... highly accessible.' -- The Herald >> 'Almost every page contains [a] diverting nugget. Worsley is like a larky tour guide, whirling us round the seedier corridors of the royal palaces ... it's all terrific fun.' -- Bee Wilson, Sunday Times >> 'Anecdotes, jokes and fascinating facts come thick and fast ... Worsley's eye for quirky detail is so compelling that you quickly find yourself gripped by the most unlikely subjects ... a very enjoyable beginner's guide to British domestic life.' -- Kathryn Hughes, Mail on Sunday >> 'This book has an excellent title.If Walls Could Talk hints at saucy intimacies and salacious secrets - and the reader (blushing, if male), isn't disappointed ... I was glued.' -- Clive Aslet, Country Life >> 'She is almost school-teacherly, but has a naughty twinkle in her eye and a talent for self-deprecating personal intervention that allows her book to wear its learning lightly ... engaging.' --Stella Tillyard, Daily Telegraph

'It all works. From the plethora of detail emerges Worsley's overarching point, which is that "every single object in your home has its own important story to tell".' -- Observer Paperback of the Week >> 'Fascinating intimate history.' --Daily Telegraph --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Book Description

A fascinating look at how people really lived, loved and died over the centuries, to tie-in with Lucy Worsley's major television series for BBC2 and BBC4, with Silver River productions, to be broadcast in Spring 2011

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
If Walls Could Talk is a hugely enjoyable book, as equally informed as funny. The author pulls back the curtains and leaves the bedroom door open with relish.

Lucy Worsley's history of the home reveals how much domesticity has changed - or in some cases stayed the same - over the past 500 years. The bedroom, bathroom, kitchen and living room are used as stages for all manner of historical personages (Henry VIII, Pepys, Queen Victoria) to make their entrances and exits.

Sex, hygiene, science and tradition are also all put under the microscope. One can either read this book in great, delicious chunks or, such are its small chapters, If Walls Could Talk is, fittingly perhaps, an ideal loo book.

Am greatly looking forward to the forthcoming TV series - and I only hope the programmes contain half as much information and humour as this treasure trove of a book.
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By S Riaz HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 25 April 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book is relevant to every single person as it looks at the intimate history of the home - focusing on the bedroom, bathroom, living room and kitchen. The book accompanies the television show of the same name, which is equally enjoyable; Lucy Worsley being as engaging as a presenter as she is as an author. I always enjoy her books and The Courtiers and Cavalier: A Tale of Chivalry, Passion, and Great Houses are also available on kindle.

There are so many fascinating facts in this book that it is impossible to list them. If you have any interest in why your house is the way it is and how the rooms in it developed, then this is a must read. The bathroom was the last to appear, but they have all evolved over time, especially in terms of privacy. There is also lots of great details about how our lives have changed along with our homes - we no longer expect to give birth or die at home, except in rare cases, for example - these events having been taken over by hospitals. Worsley discusses both the huge events of our lives and the small details. Highly enjoyable and, with short chapters, a book anyone can dip into and discover an interesting fact about the home and our history. Highly recommended, as are all her books. She's a wonderful author and this is popular history at its best.
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Format: Hardcover
"If Walls Could Talk" is the third book by Lucy Worsley that I have read and I was certainly not disappointed. Hugely enjoyable, it is a towering achievement by a great historian. Lucy has produced a work of staggering detail but it is so beautifully written that this reader had no difficulty coping. As in her previous books, one is dazzled by the depth of her research and knowledge of her subject, but drawn into the stories by her intimate style of writing. It is as if one is catching up on the latest gossip with an old friend. What separates Lucy from many other historians for me is the way she manages to balance gravitas with humour. This book had me laughing aloud - a first for a history book. The one problem with her books is that one does not want them to end and is left waiting (impatiently) for the next fix! The television series will go some way to helping. Dr Worsley is rapidly becoming THE historian of her generation. I cannot recommend this book and everything else she has written highly enough.
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Format: Hardcover
A fun and fascinating look at the history of the home. Written in a gossipy, accessible style Lucy Worsley guides us through the rooms of a house and discusses a myriad of topics, encompassing fashion, food, sexual mores, royalty, domestic service and more.
There's a gem of a fact or insight to be found on every page. The book is particularly strong on the intimacies and inventions of the Tudor and Victorian Ages.
Should you enjoy the wit and wisdom of QI, or if you read and enjoyed Bill Bryson's history of the home (there's little duplication), you'll love this book too and view your own home in a new light.
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Format: Hardcover
I didn't want this book to end (indeed my one small criticism would be that we didn't get shown around the garden). The author's warm wit and encyclopaedic knowledge of her subject make this an original and enjoyable work of popular history.
The history of the home is married to that of the story of the nation, as the author uses the bedroom, kitchen, bathroom and living room as prisms by which we can also view broader topics (such as sex, female emancipation, scientific progresss and the lives of royalty and servants alike).
The publishers should also be congratulated for furnishing the book with such gorgeous colour plates.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book is an accompaniment to a TV series, and it shows. It is a fairly rapid tour through the history of the bedroom, bathroom, living room and kitchen, with lots of stories and information, but in very abbreviated form. As the author readily admits, most of the sources used are secondary, and you are sometimes left wondering where the original information has come from. On several occasions, things are stated as fact that are probably apocryphal, and the book is almost wholly an English history as well.
Having said that, it's very readable. If you are looking for an introduction to the subject, then you could do worse than start with this, and then use the good bibliography to delve further into your area of interest.
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