"Ward has written a rare thing: a history of the clean body, yes, but also a history of societal expectation,, technological innovation, class, privacy and spare time. This is one of those uncommon works that makes the everyday hardship of the past come to life, while at the same time making the reader critique their own expectations about the world. A masterful work." History Today
Peter Ward is professor emeritus of history at the University of British Columbia and the author of several books on the social history of Canada and the history of population health.
"In The Clean Body: A Modern History [Ward] promises to tell the story of the 'cleanliness revolution,' offering cleanliness as a lens through which to view a society in transition, whether culturally, technologically, or scientifically." Our environmental woes too are the logical conclusion to a history of growing consumption, of things as well as resources. As Ward writes, "Once an element of nature, [water] had become a commodity, an engineered product of the industrial economy, ... its presence in everyday life taken utterly for granted."" Literary Review of Canada
"The Clean Body is a beautifully written tour de force, a wonderfully accessible book, and a joy to read. Peter Ward draws extensively on the literature in four languages and moves with ease between rich empirical detail, theoretical soundings, and socioeconomic data." Brian Lewis, McGill University and co-editor of The Moral Mapping of Victorian and Edwardian London: Charles Booth, Christian Charity, and the Poor-but-Respectable
"As The Clean Body makes clear, the hygiene revolution was tied in with the rise of consumerism and its concomitant exploitation of natural resources — things that have contributed greatly to our current environmental tipping point." The Montreal Gazette