Stronger Than Dirt

By Juliann Sivulka,

Book cover of Stronger Than Dirt

Book description

Only a century ago the privilege of washing with soap was mainly a special prerogative of the well to do, and a bath was something most people avoided. But by the end of World War I a revolution in standards of personal hygiene had taken place. Soap was not only…

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Why read it?

1 author picked Stronger Than Dirt as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

Americans believe advertisements, especially those that promise cleanliness. Europeans, who are much less obsessed with soaps, deodorants, creams, and other cleansing products, find this naive. As described by Sivulka, Americans see ads for personal hygiene products as allies in their quest never to “offend,” to borrow one of advertising’s favorite words. Advertising and toilet soap (as opposed to laundry or housecleaning soap) grew up together, beginning in the late 19th century, and ads made brilliant use of Americans’ worries about finding Mr. Right and getting ahead in business. Sivulka’s enlightening book is copiously illustrated by a fascinating anthology of the…

From Katherine's list on the history of washing our bodies.

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