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The Making of Home by Judith Flanders

The Making of Home

Biography / Autobiography   History   The Real World   eBook Favourites   
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Sue Baker's view...

One of my very favourite books of the year so far, a wonderful all encompassing history of European and American home life as experienced over the past 500 years. Judith Flanders overturns our notions of what home has meant in previous centuries, our own notions of the family home would seem fantastical even to someone from 100 years ago. How advancements have been made are lovingly detailed and the humblest household item is considered alongside more necessary items such as bricks for the walls and glass for the windows. I loved the wealth of detail, the quotations from diaries, letters and literature and how one is left wondering what the future will bring, will future homes be unrecognisable to us?

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Who is Sue Baker

The Good Book Guide logo The Good Book Guide Review. ‘The idea of ‘home’ is a relatively recent concept, so when Dorothy assured the citizens of Oz that ‘there is no place like home’, she was expressing a view that was the culmination of centuries of radical change in our view of what ‘home’ means. This book traces the evolution of the house across northern Europe and America from the 16th to the early 20th century and vividly evokes how notions of home have changed. The transformation of a house into a home is an essential cog in the rise of capitalism and the birth of the Industrial Revolution. You can read this book whilst lounging on your sofa, an artefact that didn’t really come into being until about 1740; before that you had either to sit on a bench or sprawl on your bed to read. This is riveting stuff and the almost perfect present for that difficult-to-buy-for person in your life.
~ Julia Hamilton


The Making of Home by Judith Flanders

The idea that 'home' is a special place, a separate place, a place where we can be our true selves, is so obvious to us today that we barely pause to think about it. But, as Judith Flanders shows in her fascinating new book, 'home' is a relatively new idea. When in 1900 Dorothy assured the citizens of Oz that 'There is no place like home', she was expressing a view that was the climax of 300 years of change. In The Making of Home, Flanders traces the evolution of the house from the sixteenth to the early twentieth century across northern Europe and America, and shows how the 'homes' we know today bear only a faint resemblance to 'homes' though history. Along the way she investigates the development of ordinary household items - from cutlery, chairs and curtains, to the fitted kitchen, plumbing and windows - while also dismantling many domestic myths.


Fascinating... A treasure chest, bursting with facts and thoughts about what homes mean and how they have been lived in: a perfect book to curl up with in the comfort of your own. -- Frances Wilson * Mail on Sunday * From the humble shack to the modern high-rise, Judith Flanders brilliantly illuminates the meaning of home throughout history. The Making of Home is a fascinating and ambitious exploration into the soul of family life. We are more than what we eat, we are also how we live. * Amanda Foreman * In this clever and entertaining book Flanders gives the everyday, from bed-making to drainpipes, all the vivid interest of something newly made strange. -- Lucy Hughes-Hallett * Sunday Times * A delicious yet nerdy treat... This book deserves a place on your shelves, bedside table, or ottoman * The Times * Even though I often wanted to argue with its author, I loved this book. -- Victoria Glendinning * Literary Review * The Making of Home is filled with bold arguments and memorable details... A compelling account of what was gained and lost in the quest for cosiness -- Ben Highmore * Observer * Magnificent... Wonderfully rich and witty -- Bee Wilson * TLS * Judith Flanders has many interesting, and sometimes startling, things to say about what domesticity means to us, how that meaning changed - and how it has endured... She is an efficient debunker of myths about poverty, family and the past. -- Lucy Lethbridge * Financial Times * This is a hugely informative book, and worth reading for the feminist chapter on women's changing roles alone. An absorbing read. * Daily Express * Thought-provoking... Deeply absorbing -- Charlotte Moore * Spectator * In The Making of Home, historian Judith Flanders furnishes fascinating detail on how houses have been made to feel like home over 500 years. * Wall Street Journal *

About the Author

Judith Flanders

Judith Flanders is the author of the bestselling The Victorian House: Domestic Life from Childbirth to Deathbed (2003); the critically acclaimed Consuming Passions: Leisure and Pleasure in Victorian Britain (2006); A Circle of Sisters (2001), which was nominated for the Guardian First Book Award; The Invention of Murder (2011); and, most recently, The Victorian City: Everyday Life in Dickens' London (2012). She is a frequent contributor to the Sunday Telegraph, Guardian, Spectator and The Times Literary Supplement. Currently a senior research fellow at the University of Buckingham, she lives in London.

Author photo © Clive Barda

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Book Info

Publication date

2nd October 2014


Judith Flanders

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Atlantic Books


368 pages


Biography / Autobiography
The Real World
eBook Favourites

Social & cultural history
Sociology: customs & traditions
European history
History of the Americas



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