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Garbage In The Cities: Refuse Reform and the Environment / Edition 1

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Overview

As recently as the 1880s, most American cities had no effective means of collecting and removing the mountains of garbage, refuse, and manure-over a thousand tons a day in New York City alone-that clogged streets and overwhelmed the senses of residents. In his landmark study, Garbage in the Cities, Martin Melosi offered the first history of efforts begun in the Progressive Era to clean up this mess.

Since it was first published, Garbage in the Cities has remained one of the best historical treatments of the subject. This thoroughly revised and updated edition includes two new chapters that expand the discussion of developments since World War I. It also offers a discussion of the reception of the first edition, and an examination of the ways solid waste management has become more federally regulated in the last quarter of the twentieth century.

Melosi traces the rise of sanitation engineering, accurately describes the scope and changing nature of the refuse problem in U.S. cities, reveals the sometimes hidden connections between industrialization and pollution, and discusses the social agendas behind many early cleanliness programs. Absolutely essential reading for historians, policy analysts, and sociologists, Garbage in the Cities offers a vibrant and insightful analysis of this fascinating topic.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"A seminal examination of a too often neglected by-product of the technical and economic revolutions of the twentieth century."
—Technology and Culture

“A groundbreaking description of how modern garbage collection and disposal were born out of a reaction to the filthy living conditions that were a byproduct of the Industrial Revolution . . .  also assesses the impact of federal and state solid waste and recycling laws.”
—Waste Age

"Tells us much about American consumption, treatment of natural resources, social organization, and public spirit."
—Journal of American History

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780822958574
  • Publisher: University of Pittsburgh Press
  • Publication date: 11/23/2004
  • Series: Pittsburgh Hist Urban Environ Series
  • Edition description: REV
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 320
  • Product dimensions: 6.13 (w) x 9.25 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Martin V. Melosi is Hugh Roy and Lillie Cranz Cullen University Professor of History and director of the Center for Public History at the University of Houston. He is the author or editor of numerous books, including Energy Metropolis: An Environmental History of Houston and the Gulf Coast; Garbage in the Cities: Refuse, Reform, and the Environment; The Sanitary City: Environmental Services in Urban America from Colonial Times to the Present; and Effluent America: Cities, Industry, Energy, and the Environment.

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Table of Contents

1 Out of sight, out of mind : the refuse problem in the late nineteenth century 17
2 The "apostle of cleanliness" and the origins of refuse management 42
3 Refuse as an engineering problem : sanitary engineers and municipal reform 66
4 Refuse as an aesthetic problem : voluntary citizens' organizations and sanitation 87
5 Street-cleaning practices in the early twentieth century 111
6 Collection and disposal practices in the early twentieth century 141
7 Solid waste as pollution in twentieth-century America 168
8 The garbage crisis in the late twentieth century 190
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