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Translated by Nancy Forest-Flier
We are very discreet. We disappear into a small room, perform the task, flush, wash and reappear as if nothing happened. Of course, hygiene is necessary—some faecal bacteria, if re-ingested, can cause very serious problems—and unpleasant aromas are best kept at bay.
But in all this hygienic discretion have we lost touch with an integral part of ourselves—something as much a part of living as breathing, eating and sleeping? Something enriching, creative and even enjoyable.
In The Story of Shit, Dutch biologist Midas Dekkers presents a personal, cultural, scientific, historical and environmental account of shit, from the digestive process and the fascinating workings of the gut, to the act of defecation and toilet etiquette. With irreverent humour and a compelling narrative style, Dekkers brings a refreshing, entertaining and illuminating perspective to a once-taboo subject.
‘[A] remarkable foray into every aspect of diet, digestion and defecation…This is a fascinating, milestone work that should run out of bookshops like shit off a hot shovel.’
‘It is such a wondrous thing when a scientist can explain facts in a humorous, straightforward and thrilling fashion.’
‘A masterful writing style that is not only unique in biology but without equal in the whole of Dutch literature. The Story of Shit shows Dekkers once again to be in possession of a golden pen.’
‘For those who aren’t aware: we are not our brain, we are our gut. There is always that unmistakable Midas touch: his brilliant, sharp style makes it hard to suppress a laugh or a smile.’
‘Dekkers doesn’t hold back in his brimming history…You learn a lot…So, do I recommend a book that tells how the CIA tried using transmitters disguised as tiger turds to eavesdrop on the Viet Cong? Oh…faeces, yes.’
‘A funny but earnest investigation—part social history, biology lesson and cultural study—that takes Chaucerian delight in the subject.’
‘The Story of Shit is entertaining, amusing, educational and revealing…Sitting on the toilet will never be the same’
‘A fascinating, very funny look at something common to us all.’
‘[An] utterly unique, bizarre and interesting take on this universal-yet-taboo topic…Dekkers is an enthusiastic proponent of crap.’
‘Intestinal fortitude required. Prudes beware.’
‘Packed with humour…The Story of Shit is an enjoyable romp through culture, science, and history.’