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The Big Necessity by Rose George
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The Big Necessity (2008)

by Rose George

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4002826,709 (4.08)19
  1. 00
    Rubbish!: The Archaeology of Garbage by William L. Rathje (Othemts)
  2. 00
    Reusing the Resource: Adventures in Ecological Wastewater Recycling by Carol Steinfeld (2wonderY)
    2wonderY: Steinfeld's book has more facts and examples. George's book spends more time with the human part of the story, with lots of discussion about community acceptance of particular methods of waste disposal.
  3. 01
    Mountains Beyond Mountains: The Quest of Dr. Paul Farmer, a Man Who Would Cure the World (Othemts)
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» See also 19 mentions

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If you are looking for a friendly introduction to the topic of toilets and sewage, then this is the book for you. The subject is actually fascinating and is certainly relevant to everyone. I was so inspired by the book that I took a tour of the Munich sewer system - which shows how influential this bok can be. ( )
  M_Clark | Apr 25, 2016 |
Must-read for anyone that wants to understand what I guess is a gross-out subject (human waste, the history of how it is or is not treated (in the sense of "processed" around the world), and the ramifications of that. Will convince you that the need for clean water and the efforts to provide it to underdeveloped nations are basically doomed to failure unless and until human waste products can be fully treated. ( )
  highlander6022 | Mar 16, 2016 |
I was frustrated by this book because I was looking more for information on new paradigms for human waste management, on the same lines as [[Carol Steinfeld]]'s [Reusing the Resource], but I got a lot of narrative without the design details I wanted.

It wasn't till I scanned a few other reviews here that I paused and began to appreciate the documentation of the sociology of human waste in various parts of the world. Oh! Yeah. This is a very important aspect of the issue as well.

Going back into the book again to re-evaluate.
  2wonderY | Mar 10, 2016 |
This book was more interesting than I expected. I have a whole new appreciation for toilets and their availability! ( )
  Jen.ODriscoll.Lemon | Jan 23, 2016 |
This book was more interesting than I expected. I have a whole new appreciation for toilets and their availability! ( )
  Jen.ODriscoll.Lemon | Jan 23, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 28 (next | show all)
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Epigraph
Like an apartment where there's a kitchen, bedroom, bathroom. People see that and they want the same for themselves, a bigger house with different rooms for everything. They can't have all that so they get the big necessity, a toilet.
-Sheik Razak, slum toilet builder, Mumbai
Dedication
For T D W George, for the introduction.
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I need the toilet.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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From the author's web site:

The Big Necessity: Adventures in the World of Human Waste will be published in the UK by Portobello Books on September 11, 2008.

The Big Necessity: The Unmentionable World of Human Waste and Why it Matterswill be published in the US by Metropolitan Books on October 14, 2008.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0805082719, Hardcover)

An utterly original exploration of the world of human waste that will surprise, outrage—and entertain

Produced behind closed doors, disposed of discreetly, and hidden by euphemism, bodily waste is something common to all and as natural as breathing, yet we prefer not to talk about it. But we should—even those of us who take care of our business in pristine, sanitary conditions. For it’s not only in developing countries that human waste is a major public health threat: population growth is taxing even the most advanced sewage systems, and the disease spread by waste kills more people worldwide every year than any other single cause of death. Even in America, 1.95 million people have no access to an indoor toilet. Yet the subject remains unmentionable.

The Big Necessity takes aim at the taboo, revealing everything that matters about how people do—and don’t—deal with their own waste. Moving from the deep underground sewers of Paris, London, and New York—an infrastructure disaster waiting to happen—to an Indian slum where ten toilets are shared by 60,000 people, Rose George stops along the way to explore the potential saviors: China’s five million biogas digesters, which produce energy from waste; the heroes of third world sanitation movements; the inventor of the humble Car Loo; and the U.S. Army’s personal lasers used by soldiers to zap their feces in the field.

With razor-sharp wit and crusading urgency, mixing levity with gravity, Rose George has turned the subject we like to avoid into a cause with the most serious of consequences.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:22:02 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Human waste is a major public health threat: population growth is taxing even the most advanced sewage systems, and the disease spread by waste kills more people worldwide every year than any other single cause of death. Even in America, 1.95 million people have no access to an indoor toilet. Yet the subject remains unmentionable. The Big Necessity takes aim at the taboo, revealing everything that matters about how people do--and don't--deal with their own waste. George also explores the infrastructure disasters waiting to happen and the potential saviors: from China's five million biogas digesters to the U.S. Army's personal lasers used by soldiers to zap their feces in the field.… (more)

» see all 2 descriptions

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