The Big Necessity: The Unmentionable World of Human Waste and Why It Matters

Rose George, Author . Metropolitan $26 (288p) ISBN 978-0-8050-8271-5

With irreverence and pungent detail, George (A Life Removed ) breaks the embarrassed silence over the economic, political, social and environmental problems of human waste disposal. Full of fascinating facts about the evolution of material culture as influenced by changing mores of disgust and decency (the popularity of high-heeled shoes dates back to the time when chamber pots were emptied into the streets)—the book shows how even advanced technology doesn't always meet basic needs: using toilet paper is shockingly unhygienic and millions of government-built latrines in developing countries have been turned into goat sheds and spare rooms due to poor design, a lack of regular water supply or simply because the subsidized (and expensive) cement and stone structures are often more appealing than the village huts. George explores how discussions on the importance of clean drinking water and the eradication of infectious diseases euphemistically address how to handle human waste. From the depths of the world's oldest surviving urban sewers in to Japan's robo-toilet revolution, George leads an intrepid, erudite and entertaining journey through the public consequences of this most private behavior. (Oct.)

Reviewed on: 08/11/2008
Release date: 10/01/2008
Paperback - 304 pages - 978-1-84627-069-7
Paperback - 326 pages - 978-1-84627-070-3
Paperback - 303 pages - 978-1-250-05830-0
Open Ebook - 304 pages - 978-1-4299-2548-8
Hardcover - 272 pages - 978-1-84627-427-5
Peanut Press/Palm Reader - 304 pages - 978-1-4299-3576-0
Paperback - 288 pages - 978-0-8050-9083-3
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