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.
About 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.