GARBAGE LAND lifts the lid off a world we take for granted, revealing its complicated, surprising underbelly. In this highly unconventional travel book, Elizabeth Royte leads the reader on a cultural tour guided and informed by the things she throws away. Structured around four separate journeys–those of Royte’s household trash, compostable matter, recyclables, and sewage–GARBAGE LAND is a literary investigation of the truly dirty side of consumption. Royte melds science, anthropology, and a strong dose of clear-headed analysis in her appraisal of America’s relationship with its garbage, examining the uncomfortable subject of waste in much the same way Mary Roach’s Stiff tackled corpses. By showing us what really happens to the things we’ve “disposed of,” Royte reminds us that our decisions about consumption and waste have a very real impact–and that, like it or not, the garbage we create will always be with us.


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An unprecedented look at that most commonplace act of everyday life-throwing things out-and how it has transformed American society.

Susan Strasser’s path-breaking histories of housework and the rise of the mass market have become classics in the literature of consumer culture. Here she turns to an essential but neglected part of that culture-the trash it produces-and finds in it an unexpected wealth of meaning.

Before the twentieth century, streets and bodies stank, but trash was nearly nonexistent. With goods and money scarce, almost everything was reused. Strasser paints a vivid picture of an America where scavenger pigs roamed the streets, swill children collected kitchen garbage, and itinerant peddlers traded manufactured goods for rags and bones. Over the last hundred years, however, Americans have become hooked on convenience, indispensability, fashion, and constant technological change-the rise of mass consumption has led to waste on a previously unimaginable scale.

Lively and colorful, Waste and Want recaptures a hidden part of our social history, vividly illustrating that what counts as trash depends on who’s counting, and that what we throw away defines us as much as what we keep.


*Available at the UCF Library*

For Amazon Click Here