If Walls Could Talk: Book summary and reviews of If Walls Could Talk by Lucy Worsley

If Walls Could Talk

An Intimate History of the Home

By Lucy Worsley

If Walls Could Talk
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  • Published in USA  Feb 2012,
    368 pages.

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Book Summary

Why did the flushing toilet take two centuries to catch on? Why did Samuel Pepys never give his mistresses an orgasm? Why did medieval people sleep sitting up? When were the two "dirty centuries"? Why did gas lighting cause Victorian ladies to faint? Why, for centuries, did people fear fruit? All these questions will be answered in this juicy, smelly, and truly intimate history of home life.

Lucy Worsley takes us through the bedroom, bathroom, living room, and kitchen, covering the architectural history of each room, but concentrating on what people actually did in bed, in the bath, at the table, and at the stove. From sauce-stirring to breast-feeding, teeth-cleaning to masturbation, getting dressed to getting married, this book will make you see your home with new eyes.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. This lighthearted approach to the most intimate moments of our lives informs, amuses and titillates. Who could not be enthralled by the history of toilet paper?" - Kirkus Reviews

"Worsley's enthusiasm for her subject is apparent, but her organization is somewhat muddled and many of the subjects discussed receive only a cursory glance." - Library Journal

"Full of factoids, but with some small errors, this might serve as a good introduction to those new to the history of houses or the study of material culture, but it lacks citations and will not appeal to more serious readers." - Library Journal

Based on the BBC series of the same name.

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Lucy Worsely is, by day, chief curator at Historic Royal Palaces, the independent charity that looks after the Tower of London, Hampton Court Palace, Kensington Palace State Apartments, the Banqueting House in Whitehall, and Kew Palace in Kew Gardens. By night, she is a writer and presenter. Called "an immensely talented and innovative historian" by the Mail on Sunday, she is author of The Courtiers: Splendor and Intrigue in the Georgian Court at Kensington Palace and Cavalier: A Tale of Chivalry, Passion, and Great Houses. Learn more at www.lucyworsley.com.

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