What’s it about?
An accessible, humorous book that recounts the history of daily life: ‘A Million Years In A Day: A Curious History of Ordinary Life, From Stone Age To Phone Age’ takes an ordinary day as the template to reveal the astonishing origins and evolution of the daily practices we take for granted.
From the moment we wake up until we go to sleep we participate in numerous daily rituals that we barely stop to consider: from getting dressed, having breakfast and checking emails, to drinks, dinner and setting the alarm clock. But how did these essential parts of our daily life come to be? When did we start cleaning our teeth? Who came up with the idea of beds? Which came first: wine or beer?
Each chapter in this amusing, but carefully-researched, history book focuses on a particular part of the day and explores its routines from their very beginnings, through their development and ultimately to their presence in our everyday lives. Each story spans an enormous breadth of history from the Ice Age to revolutionary France; from Classical Greece to Prohibition America.
A Million Years In A Day is designed to be dipped into to, at your leisure. Each chapter focuses on a different theme that’s relevant to the history of daily life: the history of time, the history of toilets, the history of food, the history of washing, the history of pets, the history of communication, the history of clothes and fashion, the history of champagne, the history of table manners, the history of alcohol, the history of cleaning our teeth, the history of beds, and the history of alarm clocks.
Drawn from across the world and spanning a million years of humanity, this smorgasbord of historical delights reveals how we got from huddling around an open fire in animal skins to becoming the smartphone-wielding metropolitans we are today. It is a history of daily life for everyone, about everyone.
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“It would be a staggeringly learned person who could not glean anything new from this work”
– Wall Street Journal
“A wonderful idea, gloriously put into practice. Jenner is as witty as he is knowledgeable”
– Tom Holland
“Delightful, surprising and hilarious – a fascinating histort of the everyday”
– Lauren Laverne
“Erudite, witty… One of my all-time favourite books about history. Absolutely brilliant”
Dr Peter Frankopan – Author of The Silk Roads
“Greg Jenner’s magpie mind answers tons of question you never thought to ask.”
Steven Poole’s long review
– The Wall Street Journal
A video review by Bari Weiss
– The Wall Street Journal online
Or maybe you’d rather read this review on Medievalists.net?
IF YOU’VE READ THE BOOK AND WANT TO KNOW WHAT SOURCES I USED IN MY RESEARCH, PLEASE SEE THE BLOG POST BELOW
I am happy to personally sign and dedicate bookplates to stick in the front of your book. Just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with your name, address, who it’s dedicated to, and what is the short message (if you want one).