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Sunday, October 17, 2010

Flushed: How the Plumber Saved Civilization by W. Hodding Carter

An entertaining read
W. Hodding Carter covers plumbing from the Ancient Indians, Greeks and Romans to modern day Japanese badet toilet in Flushed: How the Plumber Saved Civilization, a meandering romp through sewers, both past and present.

Carter's light-hearted writing style makes it a fun read. He meanders all over the world of bathrooms, pipes and open-pit sewers but the trip is a fun one. There are a lot of detours, but it's fun and informative.

W. Hodding Carter
That being said, there are a couple of stumbles. On page 30 he claims the Hellenistic Age is named for Helen of Troy, which is ridiculous. Chapter 8 "Blame It On the Christians" is an equally ridiculous attempt to blame all of the Western world's issues with defecation and urination (mostly cutesy names like poo-poo and the desire to defecate alone) on Christianity. He quotes Francis of Assisi to make his case that Christianity made using the bathroom and being physically clean a "dirty" thing (page 144) but also quotes him to say that Christians should be clean (page 145).

But, those slip-ups do not diminish the book as a whole. Very entertaining.

I rate this book 4 stars out of 5.

Reviewed on July 21, 2009.

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