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After viewing product detail pages, look here to find an easy way to navigate back to pages you are interested in. Sights like this one, reported by a civil engineer hired to survey two houses under repair in the 1840s, became commonplace: “I found whole areas of the cellars of both houses were full of nightsoil to the depth of three feet, which had been permitted for years to accumulate from the overflow of the cesspools….

Nearby residents gave it the appropriately macabre-sounding name of “Earl of Craven’s pest-field,” or “Craven’s field” for short. Most of that recycling work, in both remote tropical rain forests and urban centers, takes place at the microbial level. If the land could grow only enough food to sustain five thousand people, then five thousand people became the ceiling. Repetitious, too long, boring take on an interesting subject, Reviewed in the United States on January 11, 2019. The bone collector’s trade has also declined because most modern cities possess elaborate systems for managing the waste generated by their inhabitants.

High-density collections of human beings, by definition, require significant energy inputs to be sustainable, starting with reliable supplies of food. I really enjoy non-fiction books about epidemics and history. (That efficiency is one of the reasons why clearing the rain forests is such a shortsighted move: the nutrient cycles in their ecosystems are so tight that the soil is usually very poor for farming: all the available energy has been captured on its way down to the forest floor.). The towns of the Middle Ages lacked highways and container ships to bring them sustenance, and so their population sizes were limited by the fecundity of the land around them.


Riverhead Books, New York, 2006. writes. Reviewed in the United Kingdom on March 2, 2016.
1850s, the world's largest city didn't have a functional sewage system. The Ghost Map: The Story of London's Most Terrifying Epidemic--and How It Changed Science, Cities, and the Modern World [Johnson, Steven] on Amazon.com.

The quotes are real the thoughts inferred, but the story comes to life in a way a more traditional biographical or timeline approach can never do.

The opposition between civilization and barbarism was practically as old as the walled city itself.

The rest of the land was used as a mass grave. The diversity of the system is precisely why rain forests do such a brilliant job of capturing the energy that flows through them: one organism captures a certain amount of energy, but in processing that energy, it generates waste. mostly, were moving into Soho, a neighborhood that had been abandoned by the Reviewed in the United States on May 31, 2017. Another Blake brother opened a bakery across the road at 29 Broad shortly thereafter, and so for a few years, the Blake family had a mini-empire growing on Broad Street, with three separate businesses on the same block. Consider the haunting precision of the bone-pickers’ daily routine, as captured in Henry Mayhew’s pioneering 1844 work, London Labour and the London Poor: It usually takes the bone-picker from seven to nine hours to go over his rounds, during which time he travels from 20 to 30 miles with a quarter to a half hundredweight on his back. By the Victorian era, the night-soil men were charging a shilling a cesspool, wages that were at least twice that of the average skilled laborer.

with geography, establishing that cholera deaths were clustered in houses within “’Tother world. reveals just how those principles actually work in a messy, constantly In fairness, Capote may be too high a bar for any author to clear. Plotting death. WASTE RECYCLING IS USUALLY ASSUMED TO BE AN INVENTION of the environmental movement, as modern as the blue plastic bags we now fill with detergent bottles and soda cans. And yet, as we stood doubting the fearful statement, we saw a little child, from one of the galleries opposite, lower a tin can with a rope to fill a large bucket that stood beside her. But the idea itself sprang out of a certain kind of lived experience—on the ground, as the activists still like to say.

about the causes of cholera as there were cases of the disease, the dispute was In the early 1840s, a twenty-three-year-old Prussian named Friedrich Engels embarked on a scouting mission for his industrialist father that inspired both a classic text of urban sociology and the modern Socialist movement.

Reviewed in the United Kingdom on May 21, 2016. demographic death map.

Of his experiences in London, Engels wrote: The corpses [of the poor] have no better fate than the carcasses of animals. But tens of thousands died because the fear of stench blinded them to the true perils of the city, and drove them to implement a series of wrongheaded reforms that only made the crisis worse. Enemy of All Mankind: A True Story of Piracy, Power, and History's First Global Manhunt, And the Band Played On: Politics, People, and the AIDS Epidemic, 20th-Anniversary Edition, The Ghost Map.

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