A Million Years in a Day: A Curious History of Everyday Life from the Stone Age to the Phone Age (Hardcover)
Who invented beds? When did we start cleaning our teeth? How old are wine and beer? Which came first: the toilet seat or toilet paper? What was the first clock?
Every day, from the moment our alarm clock wakes us in the morning until our head hits our pillow at night, we all take part in rituals that are millennia old. Structured around one ordinary day, A Million Years in a Day reveals the astonishing origins and development of the daily practices we take for granted. In this gloriously entertaining romp through human history, Greg Jenner explores the gradual—and often unexpected—evolution of our daily routines.
This is not a story of wars, politics, or great events. Instead, Jenner has scoured Roman rubbish bins, Egyptian tombs, and Victorian sewers to bring us the most intriguing, surprising, and sometimes downright silly historical nuggets from our past.
Drawn from across the world, spanning a million years of humanity, this book is a smorgasbord of historical delights. It is a history of all those things you always wondered about—and many you have never considered. It is the story of your life, one million years in the making.
Praise for A Million Years in a Day
"[Jenner] crafts some fine aphorisms ('History doesn’t repeat itself—people do'), and it would be a staggeringly learned person who could not glean anything new from this work." —The Wall Street Journal
"Jenner has packed a tremendous amount of historical facts into each short, punchy segment, laced with a good dose of humor. For those fascinated by odd bits of historical trivia and the evolution of modern-day life, Jenner's book provides an entertaining, informative and highly detailed read." —Shelf Awareness (starred review)
"Told with a quest for the quirky, a zest for satire and some lovely British idioms --- a bathroom is a bog, a kiss is a snog, a cat is a moggy --- Jenner’s lively look at us through the ages is bound to bring on some grimaces, smiles, perhaps even a blush or two. ... A Million Years in a Day delivers a laugh and a lesson on nearly every page." —Book Reporter
“Bright, fun, and enjoyable. [Jenner] is a natural wordsmith and each sentence is wonderfully crafted . . . An excellent debut from an exciting new author.” —The History Vault
“With a vivid, colloquial turn of phrase . . . this book is lively, fun, and completely absorbing.” —Current Archaeology
“Hugely entertaining . . . astonishing insights into the origins of our own everyday life.” —History Revealed (Book of the Month)
“Erudite, witty, and packed with things you’ve never thought about. It’s one of my all-time favorite books about history. Absolutely brilliant.” —Dr. Peter Frankopan, University of Oxford, author of The Silk Roads: A New History of The World
"Jenner’s book is an amusing examination of what we humans do with ourselves all day." —Publishers Weekly
"An in-depth and humorous account of ancient, medieval, and early modern habits." —Medievalists.net