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How did early humans respond to the sounds of nature? What did ringing bells mean to medieval people? How can we find privacy in an increasingly noisy world? Based on the 30-part BBC radio series, Hendy's social history prompts the reader to imagine sound worlds familiar to our ancestors, from the earliest musical instruments and the resonant echoes of Palaeolithic caves, through ancient Rome's histrionic oratory, deafening Victorian factories and First World War battlefields to the first modern sound-proofed offices.