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Rubbish!: The Archaeology of Garbageby William L Rathje
Synopses & Reviews
It is from the discards of former civilizations that archaeologists have reconstructed most of what we know about the past, and it is through their examination of today's garbage that William Rathje and Cullen Murphy inform us of our present. Rubbish! is their witty and erudite investigation into all aspects of the phenomenon of garbage. Rathje and Murphy show what the study of garbage tells us about a population's demographics and buying habits. Along the way, they dispel the common myths about our "garbage crisis"—about fast-food packaging and disposable diapers, about biodegradable garbage and the acceleration of the average family's garbage output. They also suggest methods for dealing with the garbage we do have.
Book News Annotation:
Rathje and Murphy's 1992 text (originally published by Harper Collins) on America's garbage and our inability to reduce it continues to address a burning issue. Maps and diagrams of garbage removal from one state to another; the histories of bottle bills; recycling; studies on disposable diapers; the histories of incineration and waste reduction; controversies about polystyrene; the policies of corporations, cities, and states—all are recounted in this fascinating narrative. Much of the information was gathered by the Garbage Project, headed by Rathje at the department of Anthropology at the U. of Arizona. Murphy is an editor and writer for The Atlantic Monthly.
Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
About the Author
William Rathje is Director of the Garbage Project in the Bureau of Applied Reserach in Anthropology and Professor Emeritus of Anthropology at the University of Arizona. Cullen Murphy is Managing Editor of and a frequent contributor to The Atlantic Monthly. He lives in Boston.
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History and Social Science » Anthropology » General