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Poop Happened!: A History of the World from the Bottom Up Paperback – May 11, 2010

4.7 out of 5 stars 48 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 4–8—This self-proclaimed "number one book on number two" takes readers inside the fascinating world of excrement, ranging across the historical spectrum from "Hellenic Hygiene" to "How Do Astronauts Use the Toilet in Space?" Albee's focus is not only on bodily functions, but also on the larger public-health challenges created by mass urbanization in the ancient and modern world as well as the ability of societies to deal with these problems, which provides readers with an excellent introduction to social history. With a focus on the Western world in general and England in particular, the author touches on an array of topics from diseases such as cholera and plague to the development of increased sanitation in large urban areas such as London. The exciting format is comprised of a two-color (pastel green and blue) layout with numerous illustrations and photos. Interesting sidebars describe occupations and "hygiene heroes" such as Edwin Chadwick and bathroom fashion. The fluid writing style that ensnares and holds readers' attention from beginning to end. By bringing history alive, this captivating work is without a doubt an essential purchase.—Brian Odom, Pelham Public Library, AL
(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

In an info-dump redolent with Gosh! Yuck! moments, Albee deposits a heaping history of human sanitation—or rather the lack thereof—and its effects. Developing the premise that three of the four means of spreading disease—air, water, touch, and insect bite—can be blamed on bad plumbing, she pumps out a steady stream of comments on the miasmic effects of urbanization, waste disposal, and the roles of (not) bathing in ancient Greece, Rome, medieval Europe (“The Age of Shovelry”), and the “Reeking Renaissance.” She then digs into the gradual adoption of better practices in the nineteenth century in response to recurrent epidemics of cholera and other horrors. The cartoon illustrations feature sludgy green highlights; frequent sidebars offer stomach-churning profiles of relevant “Icky Occupations”; and if systematic scholarship isn’t exactly her fecal—er, focal point (“Sorry about the Eurocentricity thing,” she burbles in the preface), she does close with generalized source notes. A good choice for readers who feel that Susan Goodman’s The Truth about Poop (2004) and Charise Mericle Harper’s Flush! The Scoop on Poop through the Ages (2007) haven’t quite squeezed the last drop out of the topic. Grades 4-6. --John Peters
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 10 - 14 years
  • Grade Level: 5 - 9
  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Walker Childrens; 1 edition (May 11, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802720773
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802720771
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 0.7 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (48 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #184,451 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Hi, I'm Sarah, who wrote this book. I am truly sorry that it is currently unavailable, and that it is being resold, used, at such exorbitant prices. My publisher was caught off guard by the sudden demand for this book after the NPR story aired (search npr/sarah albee and you'll find it). But rest assured, it's being rushed back on press and will be available soon, at its regular price. Thanks for your support, and your patience.
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Format: Paperback
This is a great history book disguised with a title sure to appeal to your children. It's a literary equivalent of getting your kids to eat their vegetables, while enjoying them. Full of interesting historical facts, clever sidebars, and fun digressions, I learned more than I ever knew about ancient societies and had many questions answered that I never thought to ask. Highly recommended for adults and for curious kids and/or reluctant readers.
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Format: Paperback
Who knew an 8-year-old could giggle over the Defenstration of Prague? When he finally studies the Thirty Years' War in high school or college, he'll have a few things to teach the teacher. This is a fun, engaging book... for kids of all ages, I'd guess.
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Format: Paperback
Who would have thought you could learn so much about the world through poop? My 7 year old has been hoarding this book - goes to bed with it every night. He absolutely LOVES it and won't share it with his 4 year old sister who is equally fascinated with it though she can't read it as well. HIGHLY RECOMMEND.
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Normally, I don't read books about such gross topics but this sounded rather intriguing. And I'm glad I read it, mostly, sometimes ignorance really is bliss. On the other hand, after reading about all the major problems caused by the lack of adequate waste removal, I have a much greater appreciation for modern toilet facilities. The chapter titles are quite intriguing and eye-catching (especially for young readers who are into the gross, psst, don't tell them that they are actually studying history here ;)): Poop Matters, Bad Plumbing? Bad News, The Origin of Feces, When in Rome, Poo as the Romans do, etc. Each chapter includes brief sections on various aspects of the topic along with sidebars on Hygiene heroes, too much information sections (these tend to be especially appalling), and Icky Occupations. There was a lot of information here about what life really was like during various time periods, including practical things such as how women in hoop skirts managed to go to the bathroom (read the book if you want to know!). This is the sort of history that is left out of the history books but was really important in the lives of those who lived through those times (the sections on disease make this clear). This is a book that will definitely catch the eye of young readers, but only those with a strong stomach should pick it up.
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Gave this book to a friend for her birthday...it got passed around the party, and by the end of the night everyone wanted a copy! Did I mention she was turning 24? :) Everybody can connect with this book--the writing is clever and witty, and the topic will absolutely draw you in. Fascinating, fun, and delightfully yucky. Thanks for a great read!
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Format: Paperback
A thought-provoking, nose-holding look at history told with loads of humor and style. Clever, informative sidebars, such as "Hygiene Heroes" and "Icky Occupations" (know what a gongfermor did?), make all this fascinating and fun. Everyone poops; everyone should read this book.
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We originally purchased this book for our 10 year old son but the entire family thoroughly enjoyed it. We set aside family time to read chapters together. Not only does this make for a fun read but the historical facts are accurate. I highly recommend this book to school children and will be buying a copy for our school library.
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