Melanie A. Kiechle. Smell detectives, an olfactory history of nineteenth-century urban America
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Melanie Kiechle created a fun, although perhaps slightly misleading, title for her new book Smell Detectives, An Olfactory History of Nineteenth-Century Urban America. The book itself also is fun to read, as we learn about problems living in nineteenth-century cities adjusting to increasing population density and industrialization. Many of the nineteenth-century issues, and certainly those reflecting disparity, social justice, and economic might, will be very familiar to those involved in quality-of-life and equity issues in today’s urban centers. This book will be particularly helpful to those interested in exploring these issues, in addition to those exploring key nineteenth-century environmental issues affecting urban life.
Rather than limiting her focus to smell detection, Ms. Kiechle provides insight into myriad problems faced by many urban dwellers from poor air quality. The book begins with an overview of conditions of crowded US cities in the 1800s, including high rates of...