Dirt;: A social history as seen through the uses and abuses of dirt

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9780880292504: Dirt;: A social history as seen through the uses and abuses of dirt
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Dirt, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. It is, Terence McLaughlin suggests, "evidence of the imperfections of life, a constant reminder of change and decay. It is the dark side of all human activities --human because it is only in our judgements that things are dirty; ther is no such material as absolute dirt." Dirt comes in legion shapes, colors, smells and textures. Even more fascinating than the phenomenon of dirt itself, however, is the variety of people's attitudes toward it. One man's dirt is another man's garden. Terence McLaughlin's delightful study of dirt covers much cultivated and uncultivated ground. The historical perspective begins with the Romans' answer to body odor (baths) and the early Christians' rejection of Roman values, including cleanliness. Following mankind down the dusty road to civilization, the author leaves us where we are now: surrounded by what all seem to agree is dirty air, dirty water, dirty landscapes and dirty cities.

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