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Flushed: How the Plumber Saved Civilizationby W. Hodding Carter
Synopses & Reviews
Hodding Carter writes, "The unsung hero of human history was, of course, the Brain of Drains, the Hub of Tubs, the Power of Showers, the Brewer of Sewers...the humble plumber.... The Irish may have saved civilization, once, but plumbers have done so countless times."
When we consider the amenities that really make a difference in our well-being, surely good plumbing must rank near the top. But rarely have we taken the time to appreciate the engineering marvels that bring clean water into our homes with the turn of a tap and wash our waste products away with the flip of a lever. Until now.
Witty, anecdotal, and thoroughly entertaining, Flushed not only chronicles the long and notable history of plumbing, but follows Hodding Carter's travels and travails as he casts his own Roman lead water pipes inspired by the writings of Pliny the Elder, descends into the sewers of London, installs a state-of-the-art Japanese toilet in his bathroom, and fearlessly tries to understand everything about this most underappreciated pillar of civilization.
A winning combination of history, science, and firsthand experience, Flushed will entertain and educate all those who have never contemplated the hidden intricacies of this miracle of everyday technology.
"Though it's a pretty safe bet that the only people who pick up this book will be those who interested in sewage, the author's easy humor, average homeowner's point-of-view, and excitement for his subject should ensnare the casual browser. The book's also extensive: Carter, a history and nature author, discusses water-delivery and sewage systems from the height of Rome to the sewers of London to present-day Boston. Anecdotes and interviews pair well with thorough history and technical explanation, and Carter reserves a chapter to discuss the plumber himself: his profession, his training, and why, in the case of a nuclear holocaust, plumbers 'will be our knights in droopy jeans.' Though he can be a little too loose with the toilet-humor (chapter 12 is called 'The Power of Poop'), his populist, live-and-in-color approach could make this a crossover hit." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"The author delves deeply into the early antecedents of the British water closet, including technical details quoted in the vernacular of the day from original documents (cited as proof that there were working johns long before Sir Thomas Crapper arrived in the 19th century to garner perhaps undeserved credit)." Kirkus Review
"Hodding Carter has enough charm to fill a toilet tank, and I don't mean the new 1.6-gallon low-flush. No one else could make me laugh heartily while reading about the miraculous lead pipes of ancient Bath (which Hodding tries to replicate in his yard and nearly destroys his marriage and many of his brain cells). Thanks to Hodding, I know the most amazing things: medieval moats were cesspits, the original bio-warfare! Roman latrines were set up for conversation! The Great Stink of 1858 was conquered by an engineer whom London then thanked by naming a sludge barge after him! Got to love it all." Mary Roach, author of Stiff and Spook
"If you're going down the drain, you need an expert guide, a life-plumber, if you will. Reader, Hodding Carter is your man. He's studied toilets, sloshed through metropolitan sewers around the world, and built his own pipes based on ancient Roman techniques. Carter is unfailingly good company throughout this genuinely underground history. And unlike a real plumber, you can get him when you need him — right here, right now." Will Blythe, author of To Hate Like This Is to Be Happy Forever
About the Author
W. Hodding Carter has written for several national magazines, including Esquire, Smithsonian, Newsweek, and Outside. The author of Westward Whoa, A Viking Voyage, and An Illustrated Viking Voyage, he lives with his family in Rockport, Maine.
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