Reviews for Poop Happened! : A History of the World from the Bottom Up


Booklist Reviews 2010 February #2
In an info-dump redolent with Gosh! Yuck! moments, Albee deposits a heaping history of human sanitation--or rather the lack thereof--and its effects. Developing the premise that three of the four means of spreading disease--air, water, touch, and insect bite--can be blamed on bad plumbing, she pumps out a steady stream of comments on the miasmic effects of urbanization, waste disposal, and the roles of (not) bathing in ancient Greece, Rome, medieval Europe ("The Age of Shovelry"), and the "Reeking Renaissance." She then digs into the gradual adoption of better practices in the nineteenth century in response to recurrent epidemics of cholera and other horrors. The cartoon illustrations feature sludgy green highlights; frequent sidebars offer stomach-churning profiles of relevant "Icky Occupations"; and if systematic scholarship isn't exactly her fecal--er, focal point ("Sorry about the Eurocentricity thing," she burbles in the preface), she does close with generalized source notes. A good choice for readers who feel that Susan Goodman's The Truth about Poop (2004) and Charise Mericle Harper's Flush! The Scoop on Poop through the Ages (2007) haven't quite squeezed the last drop out of the topic. Copyright 2010 Booklist Reviews.

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Horn Book Guide Reviews 2010 Fall
Eighteen chapters with short sub-sections, call-out boxes, humorous cartoons, and archival photographs cover the human struggle to deal with excrement and its resultant smells, pollution, and diseases. The book's design is unattractive, but the tongue-in-cheek tone and goofy humor ("When in Rome, Poo as the Romans Do") will appeal to the middle-grade set. Timeline. Ind. Copyright 2010 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

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Kirkus Reviews 2010 April #2
Readers who enjoy all things gross will find this foray into fecal history most appealing. Albee conversationally explores how the need for efficient sanitation grew with expanding and more concentrated populations. Beginning with the Roman Empire and its amazing feats of plumbing, the book chronicles the evolution of waste disposal in Western civilization. The author offers many stomach-churning details in the text as well as in sidebars about using urine to launder clothes and tan hides, horrible "filth" diseases, revolting hygiene practices and disgusting waste-related occupations. Her penchant for punny chapter titles such as "The Origin of Feces" and "The Age of Shovelry" will elicit groans from adults but will resonate with kids (when they do not go over their heads). The purple-and-green pages feature Leighton's cartoon illustrations, which complement the playful tone of the text. The subject has been explored elsewhere, but this book's approach is more cultural and historical than scientific. (source notes, index) (Nonfiction. 8-12) Copyright Kirkus 2010 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 2010 May #1
With candid humor, this book spotlights an important aspect of history, discussing human waste, from prehistoric times to the present. Featuring photographs, reproduced images, and cartoons, Albee's expose explores the spread of diseases, the history of plumbing, and cultural attitudes toward excrement and hygiene, along with delightfully uncouth anecdotes (French courtiers used the "feathers attached to the neck of a dead goose" to wipe their behinds). Descriptions of stinky 18th-century London and the plight of the great unwashed throughout time should leave readers grateful for their porcelain thrones and glad to have taken the down and dirty-but informative-journey. Ages 8-12. (May) Copyright 2010 Reed Business Information.

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School Library Journal Reviews 2010 May

Gr 4-8--This self-proclaimed "number one book on number two" takes readers inside the fascinating world of excrement, ranging across the historical spectrum from "Hellenic Hygiene" to "How Do Astronauts Use the Toilet in Space?" Albee's focus is not only on bodily functions, but also on the larger public-health challenges created by mass urbanization in the ancient and modern world as well as the ability of societies to deal with these problems, which provides readers with an excellent introduction to social history. With a focus on the Western world in general and England in particular, the author touches on an array of topics from diseases such as cholera and plague to the development of increased sanitation in large urban areas such as London. The exciting format is comprised of a two-color (pastel green and blue) layout with numerous illustrations and photos. Interesting sidebars describe occupations and "hygiene heroes" such as Edwin Chadwick and bathroom fashion. The fluid writing style that ensnares and holds readers' attention from beginning to end. By bringing history alive, this captivating work is without a doubt an essential purchase.--Brian Odom, Pelham Public Library, AL

[Page 126]. Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

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VOYA Reviews 2010 February
Ever wondered what early civilization used for toilet paper? How did Victorian ladies wearing huge hoop skirts manage to "go" when they could not even sit down? Did a guy named Crapper really invent the toilet? Get the straight poop on these and many other moving questions while exploring an age-old problem: what to do when nature calls. In addition to the fun facts described as "Too Much Information" or "TMI," "Hygiene Heroes" identify people (Thomas Crapper was one of them) responsible for everything from the critical understanding of why "poop matters" to the engineering marvel of today's modern plumbing and waste disposal systems Albee does a very clever job of tying social and historical events into what might otherwise be considered a somewhat off-color topic. Indeed the author convincingly makes the case that over the ages, fecal matter was a constant driver of both human suffering and innovation. The interesting captions and eye-catching illustrations enthusiastically lead the reader on a journey through time and examine not only some of the aforementioned logistical and often humorous issues, but also the very serious outbreaks of disease that, even today, occur as a result of ignorance, improper hygiene, social class distinction, and non-disposal of human and animal excrement. There is a curiosity factor that cannot be denied when looking at the cover of this book. As a result, children, teens, and adults will undoubtedly learn more about the potty than they ever imagined possible.--Judith Brink-Drescher Index. Illus. Photos. Source Notes. 4Q 4P M J S Copyright 2010 Voya Reviews.

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