The Mansion of Happiness

A History of Life and Death
Author(s): Jill Lepore
CD - unabridged
Audio (8 discs)
Product Number: BN4360
Released: Mar 26, 2013
Business Term: Purchase
ISBN: #9781455882786
Narrator/s: Coleen Marlo
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
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Renowned Harvard scholar and New Yorker staff writer Jill Lepore has composed a strikingly original, ingeniously conceived, and beautifully crafted history of American ideas about life and death from before the cradle to beyond the grave. How does life begin? What does it mean? What happens when we die? ''All anyone can do is ask,'' Lepore writes. ''That's why any history of ideas about life and death has to be, like this book, a history of curiosity.'' Lepore starts that history with the story of a seventeenth-century Englishman who had the idea that all life begins with an egg and ends it with an American who, in the 1970s, began freezing the dead. In between, life got longer, the stages of life multiplied, and matters of life and death moved from the library to the laboratory, from the humanities to the sciences. Lately, debates about life and death have determined the course of American politics. Each of these debates has a history. Investigating the surprising origins of the stuff of everyday life - from board games to breast pumps - Lepore argues that the age of discovery, Darwin, and the space age turned ideas about life on earth topsy-turvy. ''New worlds were found,'' she writes, and ''old paradises were lost.'' As much a meditation on the present as an excavation of the past, The Mansion of Happiness is delightful, learned, and altogether beguiling.

All formats/editions

Author(s): Jill Lepore
Product Number EB00173154
Released: Dec 27, 2013
Business Term: 2 Year
Publisher: Vintage
ISBN: #9780307958501

Professional reviews

"Jill Lapore has written an engaging and enlightening book on historical American attitudes toward life and death, and it deserves attention. Lapore, a regular NEW YORKER contributor, writes for the educated general reader. But perhaps her producers felt her subject needed some enlivening. Coleen Marlo is a skilled performer, but she infuses every phrase with expression--here a roll of the "r," there a breathy Jackie Onassis whisper. She's an electric keyboard to Lapore's acoustical guitar. Her rendering is serviceable, and after a time one grows accustomed to its unrelenting expressiveness. But for this title, the recommendation is for the written text. D.A.W. (c) AudioFile 2012, Portland, Maine"