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Download The Mansion of Happiness: A History of Life and Death Audiobook (Unabridged)

Extended Audio Sample The Mansion of Happiness: A History of Life and Death (Unabridged) Audiobook, by Jill Lepore
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (337 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Jill Lepore Narrator: Coleen Marlo Publisher: Brilliance Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: May 2012 ISBN:
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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 17th-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.

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Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Robin | 2/16/2014

    " this book was really detailed and factual, but interesting. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 t m | 2/9/2014

    " This was a really interesting book. It just wasn't the book I thought I was going to be reading. "A history of life and death" implied a different scope than this book covered. The author is funny and loving of her subject matter, but it is a tangential affair, and can take a little while to see where she's going in any given chapter. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Cheri | 2/4/2014

    " I didn't quite finish this book, which is unusual for me. It was interesting, but not enough to make me want to finish it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Angie Klink | 1/23/2014

    " The Mansion of Happiness is filled with quirky history and facts I enjoyed thoroughly. From the story of Milton Bradley (the man and his company), E.B.White's inspiration in writing "Stuart Little," one of my favorite childhood books, and his quest for publication, to the politics of breast feeding, "The Mansion of Happiness (which is a British game similar to Milton Bradley's "Life" board game in the U.S.), is an entertaining and enlightening read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Paula Lyle | 1/20/2014

    " Don't expect these essays to actually hang together, but it doesn't matter. Each one is quirky, funny, and well worth reading. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Nicole | 1/17/2014

    " I really don't know how this book got published. The topics were all over the place and did not form a cohesive whole. I still can't tell you what the point of the book was. In fact, the introduction was so bad, it was painful. I really should have given up on the book there. But, no, I soon found out that it the rest of the book was even worse. For example, the chapter supposedly about motherhood focused on Margaret Sanger, the founder of Planned Parenthood, and is full of historical inaccuracies and the author's political biases. Don't waste your time with this clunker of a book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Brett | 1/16/2014

    " Well written, interesting musings on perspectives of life and death throughout modern history. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Brynn | 1/11/2014

    " Some essays are more engaging than others. Each was full of interesting historical factoids, but, overall, it didn't quite come together for me. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kelly | 1/11/2014

    " My favorite history books are those that take a supposedly modern subject and trace it back in time to show that we humans have been stubborn, moronic and ill informed on that subject for many, many years. This is one of those books. Jill Lepore is my new favorite smart ass. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ashley | 12/30/2013

    " The chapters read like magazine articles (probably because parts were published as articles previously), which made this a pretty quick read. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sarah Lachance | 12/28/2013

    " I liked much of this book. It functioned better as a set of loosely related pieces vs. an overarching book. I think Lepore goes to great ends to interconnect the stories which comes off at times as a bit heavy-handed. All in all, a good read, but not a great one. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Tracy | 12/19/2013

    " Some interesting stories in this book, but at times a bit dry. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Lindsay | 12/7/2013

    " This is why Jill Lepore is my favorite historian. Wry, witty, and engaging, these essays follow a common theme, how we view and catalog life and death, but look at that theme from many different and interesting angles. Highly recommended. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 David Steinberg | 11/13/2013

    " A meandering stream of consciousness without any real unifying theme, The Mansion of Happiness is more like the random musings of a Harvard elite. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Deuce Bigelow | 11/8/2013

    " The section on cryogenics was pretty mind blowing. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Brigid | 11/7/2013

    " I'm abandoning this one, too. Just not my thing. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Carol | 10/14/2013

    " Just not my cup of tea, I suppose. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Stephanie | 7/28/2013

    " Interesting premise, but it started to feel like several disjointed essays... "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Margaret Heller | 7/12/2013

    " Most of the content appeared in the New Yorker before, but the way it's brought together in this book is extremely compelling. A meditation on board games, Clark University, E.B. White, children's librarians, Nazis, Time Magazine vs. the New Yorker, eugenics, and lots more. I couldn't put it down. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Mary Jo | 6/18/2013

    " Interesting essays tying in different aspects of life. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Gayla Bassham | 5/27/2013

    " Really 3 1/2 stars. Not quite the tour-de-force the reviews led me to believe it was. Interesting, but disconnected. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Janet Eshenroder | 3/4/2013

    " Marvelously fascinating book. I will probably pick it as my book club selection. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 P | 12/29/2012

    " Fascinating read...but short! Found myself wanting more. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Rachael | 10/30/2012

    " A great book for when you're feeling cerebral. My review on BTC. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Merry | 10/25/2012

    " It normally takes me forever to read non-fiction and I rarely finish what I start. This book was not only fascinating, but extremely well-researched and written. I loved the way she organized the book, the way she thinks about life and death, and really enjoyed her wittiness. Highly recommend. "

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About the Author
Author Jill LeporeEleanor Roosevelt (1884-1962) was an American politician, diplomat, and activist. She was the longest-serving First Lady of the United States, holding the post from March 1933 to April 1945. She made Gallup's list of "People that Americans Most Widely Admired in the 20th Century," and Time's "The 25 Most Powerful Women of the Past Century."

Jill Lepore is the Kemper Professor of American History at Harvard and a staff writer at the New Yorker. Her books include The Name of War (1998), which won the Bancroft Prize; New York Burning (2005), which was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in history; The Story of America (2012), which was short-listed for the PEN Literary Award for the Art of the Essay; Book of Ages (2013), a finalist for the National Book Award; and The Secret History of Wonder Woman (2014). Lepore is the David Woods Kemper '41 Professor of American History at Harvard University. In 2012, she was named a Harvard College Professor, in recognition of distinction in undergraduate teaching.
About the Narrator

Coleen Marlo is an AudioFile Earphones Award–winning narrator who has been nominated for an Audie Award twice, winning in 2011. She has been awarded three Listen-Up Awards from Publishers Weekly, an AudioFile Audiobook of the Year Award in 2011, and was named Audiobook Narrator of the Year for 2010 by Publishers Weekly. She is a member of the prestigious Actors Studio and taught acting for ten years at the Lee Strasberg Theatre & Film Institute. Marlo is a proud founding member of Deyan Institute of Voice Artistry and Technology.