223rd out of 565 books — 840 voters
Biting the Dust: The Joys of Housework
In this witty look at our obsession with cleaning, Margaret Horsfield confronts her own dirt demons and scours the social, historical, literary, and psychological nooks and crannies of the world of household chores. Through historical research, countless interviews and an analysis of characters from novels and advertising, Horsfield presents such memorable personalities as...more
Hardcover, 310 pages
Published May 1st 1998 by Palgrave MacMillan
(first published April 15th 1998)
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Microhistories -- Sweeping Social Histories Of Just One Thing
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I remember reading this years ago and thinking the author was a cleanliness nut--friends and acquaintances kept accusing her of thinking about cleaning too much. Fun book on the history of houses and our possessions and what it takes to keep all neat and tidy.
Interesting look at how we obtained the standards of cleanliness that we do even if we do not execute them, how germ theory, advertising, and the fifties house-proud homemaker, all have been contributing factors to our cultural definition of what it really means to clean. She also takes an interesting look into how our code of cleanliness defines us personally (from the "neat freak" to the total "slob") and how those social reactions have been built. On the whole an interesting social history.