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Waste and Want: A Social History of Trash
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Bibliographic Detail
Publisher Metropolitan Books
Publication date September 1, 1999
Pages 355
Binding Hardcover
Book category Adult Non-Fiction
ISBN-13 9780805048308
ISBN-10 0805048308
Dimensions 1 by 6.50 by 10 in.
Weight 1.45 lbs.
Availability§ Publisher Out of Stock Indefinitely
Original list price $27.50
§As reported by publisher
Summaries and Reviews
A social history of trash traces America's evolution in just a century from a country that reused everything and lived intimately close to filth, to a nation obsessed with disposability and cleanliness. 12,500 first printing. (view table of contents) description: Product Description: An unprecedented look at that most commonplace act of everyday life-throwing things out-and how it has transformed American society.

Susan Strasser's pathbreaking histories of housework and the rise of the mass market have become classics in the literature of consumer culture. Here she turns to an essential but neglected part of that culture-the trash it produces-and finds in it an unexpected wealth of meaning. Before the twentieth century, streets and bodies stank, but trash was nearly nonexistent. With goods and money scarce, almost everything was reused. Strasser paints a vivid picture of an America where scavenger pigs roamed the streets, swill children collected kitchen garbage, and itinerant peddlers traded manufactured goods for rags and bones. Over the last hundred years, however, Americans have become hooked on convenience, disposability, fashion, and constant technological change-the rise of mass consumption has led to waste on a previously unimaginable scale.

Lively and colorful, Waste and Want recaptures a hidden part of our social history, vividly illustrating that what counts as trash depends on who's counting, and that what we throw away defines us as much as what we keep.

Book cover for 9780805048308
The price comparison is for this edition
from Metropolitan Books (September 1, 1999)
9780805048308 | details & prices | 355 pages | 6.50 × 10.00 × 1.00 in. | 1.45 lbs | List price $27.50
About: Traces the rise of mass consumption over reuse and the accompanying rise in the volume of garbage created
Book cover for 9780756774448 Book cover for 9780805065121
from Henry Holt & Co (September 1, 2000)
9780805065121 | details & prices | 6.50 × 9.50 × 0.75 in. | 0.90 lbs | List price $22.00
About: An exploration of the importance of trash in American social history describes the virtual nonexistence of trash before the twentieth century during a time when every scrap had a use and discusses the rise of the culture of disposability and its long-term implications.
from Diane Pub Co (February 1, 1999)
9780756774448 | details & prices | 355 pages | 5.75 × 9.00 × 1.00 in. | 1.05 lbs | List price $16.00
About: An unprecedented look at that most commonplace act of everyday life-throwing things out-and how it has transformed American society.

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