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Review: History Stinks! Poo Through the Ages by Suzie Edge

Review: History Stinks! Poo Through The Ages By Suzie Edge

After enjoying Vital Organs - A History of the World's Most Famous Body Parts by Suzie Edge, I thought I'd give her latest non fiction book published this year History Stinks! Poo Through the Ages a look in. Geared towards a much younger audience, medical doctor and historian Suzie Edge does a great job teaching young readers about history through the lens of toilets and yes, poo!

Beginning with the Romans and their public foricae comprising a marble bench with openings side by side over a communal gutter with fresh flowing water, the author takes us through the latrines, cesspits, garderobes, chamberpots, privvies and water closets across time.

Uniting her medical knowledge with her penchant for history, the author also covers a variety of diseases caused by poor sanitation along with some humorous factoids like this one.

In 1972, archaeologists in York in northern England discovered the fossilised remains of an enormous human turd. It was discovered along with wood, cloth and leather that was left behind from the Viking settlement centuries earlier. Edge tells us:
"This 1000 year old poo measured a gigantic 20 centimetres long and 5 centimetres wide and is believed to be the biggest example of a fossilised human poo ever found." Chapter 5
That certainly had me hurriedly pressing pause on the audiobook and rushing to find a tape measure so I can only imagine the reactions of the 7+ target audience. The fossil is on public display in York - complete with the stench cleverly recreated by scientists - but finding out it was accidentally dropped in 2003 when being handled during a school trip and subsequently broke into 3 pieces was surprisingly distressing.

History Stinks! Poo Through the Ages is a novel way for kids to learn about history, sanitation, historical figures, medicine and archaeology although the topical jokes and 'did you know' sections did begin to irritate this adult reader after a while. That said, there's plenty to entertain and a lot to learn in this short audiobook, from what people in the Roman and Tudor periods used to wipe their bottoms to how astronauts poo in space.

A sneak peek at the author's current writing project tells me that her next offering in the series History Stinks! Wee, Snot and Slime Through Time is due to be published in 2025 and I might just have to take a wee look.

My Rating:

This post first appeared on Carpe Librum, please read the originial post: here

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Review: History Stinks! Poo Through the Ages by Suzie Edge