Synopses & Reviews
To most, the flush of a toilet is routine; the way we banish waste and ensure cleanliness. It is safe, efficient, necessary, nonpolitical, and utterly unremarkable. Yet Jamie Benidickson's examination of the social and legal history of sewage in Canada, the United States, and the United Kingdom demonstrates that the uncontroversial reputation of flushing is deceptive. The Culture of Flushing
is particularly relevant in a time when community water quality can no longer be taken for granted, as it investigates and clarifies the murky evolution of waste treatment.
The Culture of Flushing is essential reading for specialists in environmental history, environmental law, public health, engineering, and public policy. Those concerned with protecting water quality and the environment will also find it unique, comprehensive, and accessible.
"The Culture of Flushing does a fine job of comparing issues across national borders, and is one of only a very few studies that integrates English, American, and Canadian experiences. This is a very good synthesis of an important topic that should be of interest to scholars in many fields and to people in many walks of life." Martin V. Melosi, professor of history, University of Houston, and author of Effluent America and The Sanitary City
"[Benidickson] writes in a straightforward, non-technical way; the book speaks without artifice to lay readers and regular citizens about an environmental issue that is only rarely in public view in the developed world." David Cameron, Literary Review of Canada
"The Culture of Flushing begins with some water-closet humour: why did Tigger put his head in the toilet? 'He was looking for Pooh.' Thereafter, University of Ottawa law professor Jamie Benidickson is all business, exploring the social and legal evolution of waste treatment, its impact on human health and the environment, and the need to do more than flush and forget. It's a fibre-packed 404 pages, for the serious bathroom reader." Maclean's
"[A] book that offers a sweeping overview of an important topic made very timely by news reports concerning the almost stupefying water pollution problems plaguing China today. This book puts those problems into a valuable historical prespective." Christine Meisner Rosen, Environmental History Journal
About the Author
Jamie Benidickson teaches at the Faculty of Law, University of Ottawa. He is the author of Idleness, Water, and a Canoe: Reflections on Paddling for Pleasure and other publications on the environment, water law, and social history.