From Publishers Weekly
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.
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"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"