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Publisher's Summary

An engrossing BBC Radio 4 series spanning the history of the home and domestic relationships over the past 500 years, presented by Amanda Vickery.

Professor Amanda Vickery is one of the most charismatic historians in Britain today. In A History of Private Life she reveals the intimate secrets of life at home, from the Tudor mansion to the modern bedsit.

Through letters, diaries and other first-person accounts, we hear the voices of men and women from very different backgrounds telling their stories. Men behaving badly, adulterers on the sofa, servants running amok, bashful bachelors, and glamorous widows - all are revealed in their own words, providing a revealing portrait of how these long-dead people lived day to day and illuminating the problems, pleasures, successes, and catastrophes of domestic life.

Among the actors bringing this history to life are Deborah Findlay, John Sessions, Jasmine Hyde, Jeremy Young, Simon Tcherniak, and Madeleine Brolly. The series also features songs from the 18th and 19th century specially arranged and performed by David Owen Norris, who is accompanied on keyboards by singers Gwyneth Herbert and Thomas Guthrie.

©2009 Amanda Vickery (P)2009 Loftus Audio Ltd

What listeners say about Radio 4's A History of Private Life

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An intimate look at family life long ago.


This is truly fascinatingly. I've not been able to put this down once I started it this morning. The excerpts from diaries make it easy to empathise with individuals's experiences and emotions. I will enjoy listening to this again.

4 people found this helpful

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I loved it!!

I loved this program. I was able to listen in short bits and if I had time I could get engrossed and listen to many chapters. I enjoyed the narration and the history of how people lived. I would like to listen to more like this on how people lived in other times and places. I am going to relisten to this, it had so much interesting information presented in a lovely way with added music, narration and sound effects.

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  • MaryB
  • 08-15-10

Brilliant

I loved this book. The view into everyday lives of people whose experiences so closely mirror our own, but who experienced these things many years ago, is fascinating. The music expertly reinforced the mood. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes either social history or the books of Bill Bryson - his stories about ordinary people, their lives and their emotions are similar.

7 people found this helpful

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  • Teresa Cooper
  • 10-07-15

Living.

Very well narrated, and well written. I think it could have worked as well if it had been a bit longer. Good history research and use of primary sources.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Kathcolours33
  • 03-21-15

Wish it was longer!

Excellent, easy to listen to book. Wonderful narration, singing and music. I didnt want it end :-)

2 people found this helpful

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  • Dave
  • 04-10-11

Bite-sized glimpses into the past

This program is divided into numerous 15-minute episodes that were clearly originally broadcast one-a-day or something, so it has a very bitty feel to it. Each episode has a theme, and all are interesting, although naturally there isn't time for much depth here. The programs are intersperced with period songs and readings from diaries etc, and the whole thing is done with the professionalism you would expect from a BBC production. As a glimpse into domestic life this is brief but quite informative concerning upper and middle class life, but offers almost nothing on the lives of the masses, the poor working the fields or latterly in the growing industrial towns. As a social history then it is anything but comprehensive, but then it was never meant to be, and as an entertaining program with a few surprising nuggets of information I enjoyed this greatly.

5 people found this helpful