Elisha P. Renne is Professor in the Department of Anthropology and the Center for Afroamerican and African Studies at the University of Michigan--Ann Arbor. She is author of Population and Progress in a Yoruba Town and Cloth That Does Not Die and editor (with E. van de Walle) of Regulating Menstruation.
Acclaimed as "extraordinary" (The New York Times) and "a classic" (Los Angeles Times), The Big Necessity is on its way to removing the taboo on bodily waste—something common to all and as natural as breathing. We prefer not to talk about it, but we should—even those of us who take care of our business in pristine, sanitary conditions. Disease spread by waste kills more people worldwide every year than any other single cause of death. Even in America, nearly two million people have no access to an indoor toilet. Yet the subject remains unmentionable.
Moving from the underground sewers of Paris, London, and New York (an infrastructure disaster waiting to happen) to an Indian slum where ten toilets are shared by 60,000 people, The Big Necessity breaks the silence, revealing everything that matters about how people do—and don't—deal with their own waste. With razor-sharp wit and crusading urgency, mixing levity with gravity, Rose George has turned the subject we like to avoid into a cause with the most serious of consequences.
In this book, H. L. Pohlman reconstructs the dramatic story of this murder case and traces its disposition through the criminal justice system. Drawing on interviews with participants as well as court records, he closely examines competing interpretations of the evidence. Was the attack a hate crime? A sex crime? A class crime? At the same time, he shows how a broad range of substantive and procedural issues -- from the rights of the accused to evaluation of potential mitigating circumstances -- can influence the assessment of culpability in homicide cases.
Much of Pohlman's analysis centers around two fundamental and related questions: To what extent did the adversarial system facilitate or hinder the discovery of the "whole truth" in the Carr case? And was justice served? Pohlman concludes by revisiting the ongoing debate over the nature of the American criminal justice system and the legitimacy of its ultimate sanction -- the death penalty.