British Chimney Sweeps: Five Centuries of Chimney Sweeping

New Amsterdam Books
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Our picture of a chimney sweep is often Dick Van Dyke in Mary Poppins. This meticulously researched examination shows a different side to this hazardous trade. The art and science of chimney sweeping are examined in detail for the first time in this lively and fascinating book. From the development of chimneys in the twelfth century, replacing the open cooking fire in a smoke-filled room with a plain hole in the roof, to the patenting of mechanical devices in the late nineteenth century that came to the rescue of many a poor climbing boy, all is revealed. The personalities who dominated the profession, which surprisingly included several women sweeps, are portrayed, along with many illustrations of the tools of the trade. Sweeping techniques, the impact of social reform and the place of the sweep in literature are explored in this absorbing work. With 75 black-and-white illustrations.
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About the author

Benita Cullingford is a teacher of speech and drama, whose fascination with the history of chimney sweeps has led to the publication of many articles on the subject. She is writing a television drama series about eighteenth-century chimney sweeps and has given lectures on women traders. She lives in Hertfordshire, England, and is married with two daughters.
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Additional Information

Publisher
New Amsterdam Books
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Published on
Apr 17, 2001
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Pages
260
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ISBN
9781461663256
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Best For
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Language
English
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Genres
History / Europe / General
History / Europe / Great Britain / General
History / General
History / World
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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Robert B. Marks
This clearly written and engrossing book presents a global narrative of the origins of the modern world from 1400 to the present. Unlike most studies, which assume that the “rise of the West” is the story of the coming of the modern world, this history, drawing upon new scholarship on Asia, Africa, and the New World and upon the maturing field of environmental history, constructs a story in which those parts of the world play major roles, including their impacts on the environment. Robert B. Marks defines the modern world as one marked by industry, the nation state, interstate warfare, a large and growing gap between the wealthiest and poorest parts of the world, increasing inequality within the wealthiest industrialized countries, and an escape from the environmental constraints of the “biological old regime.” He explains its origins by emphasizing contingencies (such as the conquest of the New World); the broad comparability of the most advanced regions in China, India, and Europe; the reasons why England was able to escape from common ecological constraints facing all of those regions by the eighteenth century; a conjuncture of human and natural forces that solidified a gap between the industrialized and non-industrialized parts of the world; and the mounting environmental crisis that defines the modern world.

Now in a new edition that brings the saga of the modern world to the present in an environmental context, the book considers how and why the United States emerged as a world power in the twentieth century and became the sole superpower by the twenty-first century, and why the changed relationship of humans to the environmental likely will be the hallmark of the modern era—the “Anthopocene.” Once again arguing that the U.S. rise to global hegemon was contingent, not inevitable, Marks also points to the resurgence of Asia and the vastly changed relationship of humans to the environment that may in the long run overshadow any political and economic milestones of the past hundred years.
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