The Mansion of Happiness
A History of Life and Death
Publication Date: June 5, 2012
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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.
About the AuthorJill Lepore is the David Woods Kemper '41 Professor of American History at Harvard University and a staff writer at the "New Yorker". Her books include "The Mansion of Happiness", "The Whites of Their Eyes" (Princeton), and "Book of Ages: The Life and Opinions of Jane Franklin".
Coleen Marlo is an accomplished actor and multi-award-winning audiobook voice artist and producer. In 2010 she was named Audiobook Narrator of the Year by "Publishers Weekly", and she won the Audie Award for Literary Fiction in 2011. She has won numerous "Publishers Weekly" Listen-Up Awards and is an "AudioFile" Earphones Award winner.