Clean: A History of Personal Hygiene and Purity: A History of Personal Hygiene and Purity

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OUP Oxford, May 24, 2007 - Medical - 480 pages
5 Reviews
Why do we still have nits? What exactly are 'purity rules'? And why have baths scarcely changed in 200 years? The long history of personal hygiene and purity is a fascinating subject that reveals how closely we are linked to our deeper past. In this pioneering book, Virginia Smith covers the global history of human body-care from the Neolithic to the present, using first-hand accounts and sources. From pre-historic grooming rituals to New Age medicine, from ascetics to cosmetics, Smith looks at how different cultures have interpreted and striven for personal cleanliness and shows how, throughout history, this striving for purity has brought great social benefits as well as great tragedies. It is probably safe to say that no-one who reads this book will look at his or her body (or bathroom) in quite the same way again.

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Review: Clean: A History of Personal Hygiene and Purity

User Review  - Araminta Matthews - Goodreads

I found this book to be a much needed scholarly journey into the history of hygienic practices amongst various ancient (and modern) cultures of Western Civilization. At the same time, I felt the ... Read full review

Review: Clean: A History of Personal Hygiene and Purity

User Review  - Robert - Goodreads

I should note that I speed read this for work, so I didn't get to really immerse myself in it as much as I like to with pleasure reading. But still, this one provides an interesting historical look at ... Read full review

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About the author (2007)

Virginia Smith is a freelance historian who specializes in the history of personal hygiene. She was previously a Fellow of the Wellcome Institute for the History of Medicine, under the supervision of the late Roy Porter, and is currently an honorary fellow of the Centre for History in PublicHealth at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Her current research interests include the history of cosmetics, spas, and nudity.

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