The Dirt on Clean

The Dirt on Clean

An Unsanitized History

Book - 2007
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The question of cleanliness is one every age and culture has answered with confidence. For the first-century Roman, being clean meant a two-hour soak in baths of various temperatures, scraping the body with a miniature rake, and a final application of oil. For the aristocratic Frenchman in the seventeenth century, it meant changing your shirt once a day and perhaps going so far as to dip your hands in some water. Did Napoleon know something we didn't when he wrote Josephine "I will return in five days. Stop washing"? And why is the German term Warmduscher - a man who washes in warm or hot water - invariably a slight
against his masculinity? Katherine Ashenburg takes on such fascinating questions as these in Clean , her charming tour of attitudes to hygiene through time.

What could be more routine than taking up soap and water and washing yourself? And yet cleanliness, or the lack of it, is intimately connected to ideas as large as spirituality and sexuality, and historical events that include plagues, the Civil War, and the discovery of germs. An engrossing fusion of erudition and anecdote, Clean considers the bizarre prescriptions of history'sdoctors, the hygienic peccadilloes of great authors, and the historic twists and turns that have brought us to a place Ashenburg considers hedonistic yet oversanitized.
Publisher: New York : North Point Press, 2007
Edition: 1st American ed
ISBN: 9780865476905
Branch Call Number: History 391.64 ASH


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May 22, 2012

You will never look at central plumbing the same way again..
I dont think a warm bathtub was never soooo appreciated as after reading this particular book.
A fascinating history on the the view of personal and community hygiene from the Roman Baths, The plaguen that struck in Europe and how it came to affect millions and now in present day marketing to pressure the masses into sterilizing & scrubbing themselves and every surface without mercy! An expose on cultural, ethical and moral divide that will suprise you. The upper classes were not always the wisest of the lot!! The mentality of 'way back then' was somewhat disturbing in its atrocious ignorance of what was deemed 'Clean' or not..

Jun 29, 2008

Easy read, fun, interesting.


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