Katherine Ashenburg
 Home Biography Books Lectures News Contact
All the Dirt Books
 Buy Now  

All the Dirt: A History of Getting Clean
Annick Press, 2016
Illustrated by Capucine Mazille

A real “stinker” of a book that takes a lighthearted look at the history of cleanliness. Recommended for 9 to 12 year olds.

Cleanliness is next to godliness. At least that was the point of view espoused by John Wesley in 18th century England. But accounts of people bathing go back to the Bronze Age in the Indus Valley.

All the Dirt is a lively, informative exploration of the evolution of personal hygiene. Starting with a number of myths about cleanliness, the author gives a quick overview of the topic. Throughout most of history, people rejected the notion of keeping clean, with some exceptions—the ancient Romans were obsessive about it. Readers will discover how the definition of cleanliness in one part of the world may differ radically from another. In Zimbabwe, for example, cleanliness means coating your washed body with a mixture of oil and dirt!

There is just enough of a gross factor that young readers will find the book as entertaining as it is enlightening. Colorful spreads, lots of sidebars, humorous illustrations, and photos make it ideal for browsing as well as reading in depth.

About the Book | Praise for All the Dirt