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The Great Indoors At Home in the Modern British House by Ben Highmore
  

The Great Indoors At Home in the Modern British House

The Real World   

RRP £15.99

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A book always has an extra sparkle about it when an author loves their subject as much as Ben Highmore. Great fun to read, it’s a room-by-room history of the British House encompassing the home from humble terrace to the grand town house. Ben Highmore observes the changes in our lives and how technology impacts on the home but what really does impress is just how far we’ve come from the early twentieth century to our own time when we again have a huge housing crisis. Ben Highmore makes great use of the Mass Observation archive to add an extra layer of detail and knowledge to this most engaging and diverting book.

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Synopsis

The Great Indoors At Home in the Modern British House by Ben Highmore

'House' has long been synonymous with 'home': the significance of four walls and a roof lies far deeper than simply shelter from the elements. A house stands for sanctuary, family, belonging, privacy and our pasts: even when standardised as a 'Barratt Home' or modern housing estate, every house bears the stamp of the people who live in it, remaining a bastion of quirky individualism. The Great Indoors is the first cultural history of the family home in the twentieth century, comparable to Rachel Hewitt's Map of a Nation or Joe Moran's Queuing for Beginnners. As society has changed, so has the house: the hall - which had its finest hour during the middle ages, when families and their servants ate, slept and socialised there together - has now been relegated to a mere passageway, only useful for getting to other (more private) rooms. Highmore shows how houses display the currents of class, identity and social transformation that are displayed in the arrangement and use of the family home. And he also offers an engaging and stimulating peek through the curtains to explain why the fridge is used as a communication centre, how the loo (or toilet) inspired its very own literary genre and what your furniture arrangement reveals about how you function as a family.

Reviews

Fascinating. A joyful portrait of how we live -- in all our eccentric glory. You'll never look at wallpaper in the same way again. -- Matt Rudd The Great Indoors is an entertaining and welcome addition to a neglected field of social history. -- Susan Flockhart Sunday Herald There is a great deal to be enjoyed in this book... a sprightly guide through the vicissitudes of the past 40 years in the British home. -- Lucy Lethbridge The Observer Brilliantly entertaining and rigorously researched book, Highmore explores our recent domestic past and asks what it says about the way we live now. -- Kathryn Hughes Mail on Sunday Thought-provoking little book. -- Marcus Berkman Daily Mail Entertaining and informative. -- Alwyn Turner Daily Telegraph Good solid stuff. -- Rebecca Armstrong Independent on Sunday The author... is a revelation. He is constantly informative, psychologically nuanced and charming. He's succeeded where so many others have failed. This is the book that amateur home anthropologists have been waiting for: a book that treats the evolution of home decoration and style with the ambition it deserves. -- Alan de Botton The TImes Highmore breezily picks our locks, throws open all our rooms, rifles through everything we've ever owned, and tells the story of our lives. -- Iain Finlayson Saga Highmore takes a captivatingly nosy look around the British home, exploring the roles played by such revolutionary instruments of social change as the duvet and the serving hatch. His range of reference is invigoratingly eclectic. New Statesman


About the Author

Ben Highmore is Reader in Media Studies at the University of Sussex. He is the author of The Everyday Life Reader.

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Book Info

Publication date

2nd January 2014

Author

Ben Highmore

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Publisher

Profile Books Ltd

Format

Hardback
288 pages

Categories

Social & cultural history

20th century history: c 1900 to c 2000

ISBN

9781846681837

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