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31 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Probably only interesting to people who poop
Poop Culture is an excellent book about a topic that is largely (and unfairly) ignored.

Perhaps the greatest asset and the greatest weakness of the book is its breadth. The author covers many different approaches to the topic--from the psycho-social elements of poop (i.e. shame) to the history of the toilet to cultural symbolism to poop in art to the...
Published on April 26, 2007 by Daniel M. Gerling

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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A boring read, not funny or entertaining
When I picked up this book, I expected and light and entertaining read full of fun facts about this somewhat gross topic. What I got instead was a pseudo-academic, dry book that I had a hard time finishing.

I won't say that this book isn't worth your time if you're genuinely interested in poop. However, if you're picking up this book because you think it'll...
Published 17 months ago by Ross Avilla


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31 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Probably only interesting to people who poop, April 26, 2007
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This review is from: Poop Culture: How America Is Shaped by Its Grossest National Product (Paperback)
Poop Culture is an excellent book about a topic that is largely (and unfairly) ignored.

Perhaps the greatest asset and the greatest weakness of the book is its breadth. The author covers many different approaches to the topic--from the psycho-social elements of poop (i.e. shame) to the history of the toilet to cultural symbolism to poop in art to the economic/ecologic effects of the way we as a society deal with our poop. It's at once odd and heartwarming to see a diagram of the best way to poop (squatting) or talk of South Park in the same book that also contains theoretical musings on Jonathan Swift and Marcel Duchamp.

Underneath the entertaining history and stories about poop there exist some fundamental and very important issues. For example, our culture's shame of defecation translates into a rather unhealthy and irrational way of dealing with poop on a practical level--as evidenced by our toilet and sewer design. Praeger provides some greener alternatives to the way things have been done in the past.

In short, this is the first book on poop since Dominique Laporte's history of French shit that I would call top notch. It's got interesting history, it's accessible (though I could do without some of the puns), it's got great illustrations (especially in the chapter on scatological art), and it puts Martin Luther, Milan Kundera, Rabelais, Wim Delvoye, and Mr. Hankey in stimulating conversation with one another.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars We are, therefore we poop., May 2, 2007
By 
J. Persels (Columbia, South Carolina) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Poop Culture: How America Is Shaped by Its Grossest National Product (Paperback)
I'll avoid the obvious jokes any assessment of a book entitled Poop Culture instantly elicits. In fact, that a reviewer should feel somehow compelled to open with such an announcement of rhetorical self-restraint merely confirms the need for Praeger's valuable study. What is more, carrying it around on my cross-campus rambles as I mull over my endorsement - for this is, indeed, an earnest recommendation - I found myself self-consciously turning it face down, slipping it in a folder, or burying it under other books. I have been provoked once too often by the puzzled, inquisitive glances of my students and colleagues who had quickly taken in the (far too) bold and (gratuitously) capitalized title. Seriously, you can easily decipher the thing from 30 feet away! And believe me, I actually tested it. As shameful as pooping is, to invoke Praeger's dominant theme, to be caught reading about it is almost as bad, which is yet another confirmation of the need for such a work.

Praeger sifts the pertinent literature, both contemporary and historical - much as one of the founding scatological fathers, Rabelais, mentions early modern apothecaries sifting through children's excrement during cherry season for the precious pits - and produces a learned yet humorously readable and engaging treatment for what is perhaps the most universal of Western neuroses, what sociologist David Inglis, cited by Praeger, terms the "bourgeois fecal habitus." Moreover, he has much of use to say on the environmental costs and ultimate unsustainability of that habitus, which, as he demonstrates, we have forced upon ourselves in the name of civilization. At a moment when Western, but also increasingly Eastern, addiction to fossil fuels looms large in crisis literature, Praeger's exploration (and indictment) of our addiction to an unhealthy poop culture is timely critique indeed.

To riff on Paul Provenza's own Cartesian riff in the foreword ("I stink, therefore I am"): "We are, therefore we poop." Praeger provocatively and successfully blends both entertaining and serious thought in helping us better to understand this foremost among existential truths.

Jeff Persels, co-editor of Fecal Matters in Early Modern Literature and Art: Studies in Scatology
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Political And Cultural Implications Of Poop(ing), May 10, 2007
This review is from: Poop Culture: How America Is Shaped by Its Grossest National Product (Paperback)
Discussion of bodily functions and waste disposal issues has traditionally been classified in most cultures as 'too much information.' Victorian mores were obsessed with depicting sexuality and anything regarding the body as 'shameful.' These attitudes exist today, influencing a huge segment of the population which thinks that, beyond toilet training, going to the bathroom is vile and disgusting.

Enter David Praeger's 'Poop Culture,' a well-documented and researched, intellectual outing of a mostly-closeted subject. This book follows a timeline from our earliest, food-gathering ancestors and their completely laissez-faire attitude toward waste disposal through the development of privies and cesspits to the beginnings of our modern infrastructure/sewer systems and flush toilets.

There's also humor, medical advice and pop culture here, presented in a non-sensational, thoughtful manner with unique sociological and cultural perspectives. A healthful, enlightening read.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cultural Events, November 13, 2008
This review is from: Poop Culture: How America Is Shaped by Its Grossest National Product (Paperback)
This book is brilliant. A while ago I ended up finding Dave's website and found it absolutely fascinating. I read page after page. I was thrilled to find that he would be appearing in Philadelphia, PA while on a book tour. I convinced my husband as well as one of my most excentric friends (who also brought along her boyfriend) to drive about 2 hours to see this guy talk and hear about the book.

The program was hysterical. Even the skeptical boyfriend ended up admitting that it made for a really interesting and funny evening.

I had to have the book. I had to have it signed. He signed the book, "To Amy, my #2 fan. - Dave". Get it? And he does it in brown Sharpie. It doesn't get any better than that.

The book is amazingly well written. Not at all the "potty humor" that people might expect. It has an air of academia, a scattering of well placed sarcasm, and a level of wit not found in many humorous books - particuarly those written about such a unique subject.

I seriously think that our school literary system needs to be updated. Out with dusty old books like "Tale of Two Cities" and in with books like "Poop Culture". In reading this book (which is shorter than TOTC) you get exposed to lessons in anthropology, geography, history, psychology, economics, and myriad other topics. And, most importantly, you enjoy the scatological read.

Two thumbs waaaay up.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars this poop don't stink!, May 11, 2007
This review is from: Poop Culture: How America Is Shaped by Its Grossest National Product (Paperback)
This book will change the way you feel about poop. Not only informative, but very funny. I purchased multiple copies to give to my relatives.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Smart Poop, November 12, 2007
This review is from: Poop Culture: How America Is Shaped by Its Grossest National Product (Paperback)
Although this book contains a lot of humor, it also provides lessons on history, art, literature and environmental science. This is an enjoyable read, especially if you want to learn something. If you are looking for poop jokes, it's got some of those too, but that is not the book's primary focus. Some of the chapters read more like a college term paper, and sometimes the book is a little preachy when it comes to the environment, but overall, it's a good read.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I Never Knew There Was So Much I Didn't Know About Poop, December 2, 2007
This review is from: Poop Culture: How America Is Shaped by Its Grossest National Product (Paperback)
I'll be honest. When I got this book, I mostly expected it to be a compilation of funny stories about poop void of any substance or usefulness (much like feces itself).

Alas, I found myself continually intrigued by Praeger's unique research, and in the end I found that I was surprised that I had learned so much regarding the subject. To say it changed my life might be overstating the fact, but it certainly did change the way I considered one constant aspect of it.

The book was also well written, educational and thoughtful without being dry or stuffy. And the humor in the book is well balanced, managing to be clever without being over-the-top.

Poop Culture is a fun, quick read, and you will learn more than you ever thought you would about crap. And that's a good thing.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Poop Culture, August 30, 2008
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This review is from: Poop Culture: How America Is Shaped by Its Grossest National Product (Paperback)
Oh, what can I say about Poop Culture? I LOVED reading this book! The authors writing style is humorous (but in a tactful, respectful way given the subject). The approach to writing about poop was handled in such a great way, it avoids all the pitfalls that come with the topic. No gross, sophmoric humor, but Dave Praeger also doesn't beat around the bush when talking about the actual mechanism of our alimentary canal.

It is such a well written book. I especially love his insights on the psychology of pooping, and our attitudes through the ages towards this very unifying bodily function.

I highly recommend this book. HIGHLY!

-Holly N.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Get a whiff of the knowledge within, May 17, 2007
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This review is from: Poop Culture: How America Is Shaped by Its Grossest National Product (Paperback)
Once you pick it up and stick your nose in it, you will be permanently stained... with knowledge and insight!

This book is both entertaining and informative, and scientifically argues why no one else will touch the subject matter.

This makes the ideal gift: I handed my Poop Culture over to my mom, and she loved it.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A literary follow-up to Fast Food Nation, May 2, 2007
This review is from: Poop Culture: How America Is Shaped by Its Grossest National Product (Paperback)
Considering the current uproar over our consumption of fossil fuels, everyone in America should read the chapter on the environmental impact of flush toilets. Overall, this is a well-written, engaging book of surprising depth and scope. Oh yeah, and there are poop jokes.
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Poop Culture: How America Is Shaped by Its Grossest National Product
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