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The Specialist [Hardcover]

Charles Sale , William Kermode
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Dec 1930
The Specialist is one of the world s favourite humour classics. Generations of readers have enjoyed its gentle wisdom about the building of privies and applauded Lem Putt s devotion to making a privy a thing of beauty. Lem Putt is a specialist, and this book is the philosophy of a man who loves his trade and has considered every aspect of it, from how to prevent people taking their time when they commune with nature to solving the problem of female modesty in an ingenious way.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Putnam, London (Dec 1930)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 037000082X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0370000824
  • Product Dimensions: 17 x 10.4 x 1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,505,001 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


A gentle education in the nature of humour. --Terry Pratchett, Daily Express

Describes, in the words of an old-style American varmint, the making of an outside privy... It has been entertaining readers for well over seventy years. --The Oldie

Souvenir Press... publish not only Le Petomane but also The Specialist , thereby making them almost certainly the best non-fiction publishers on the entire planet. --The Bookbag --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Charles Sale lived in Carmel County, California, and he based Lem Putt on a real person. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Autobiography of a rural American privy-builder 20 Oct 1999
By A Customer
This is a very short book, but is written in the style of a rambling monologue by a retired constructor of outdoor privys. He describes points to consider in siting and building them that would never cross the mind of the non-"specialist". Pour yourself a Jack Daniels, lean back in rocking chair on the porch and read it to yourself in a deep Southern accent for best enjoyment.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Buy it because you can 2 April 2009
Although a tiny book which you will no doubt consume in a single session in your favourite place, the specialist is a glittering piece of literary history from a simpler time but written with such humour and humility that you find yourself being transported back to that time. Buy this book, visitors to your smallest room will thank you for it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Specialist 9 Jun 2009
Most amusing to those who have experience in a similar field. I first came across this little book in 1952 in the office where I worked. Many of the Lem Putt sayings became office quotations. I have been searching for the book for many years as my original copy was loaned and not returned - they must have enjoyed it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sit back, relax and enjoy the humour. 7 Feb 2012
By Mike B
When Charles Sale wrote, and published, this book it's purpose was to preserve his stage act for posterity. In the 1920s/'30s, to most people in his American audiences the privy was a reality (and in rural Norfolk, England we were still using an 'Elsan' in the 1970s) and they were able to relate to the situations directly. People coming to it now for the first time might do best to think of it as a gentle 'Horrible Histories' account. In a time when most things are mass produced, and keeping up with the Jones's comes down to having enough money for a flashier car/TV or employing a 'craftsman' to build your conservatory, it is amusing to see, at a time when mass-production was emerging, the same trait existing and a privy builder bemoaning the demise of the specialist, while warning against employing a cheap-jack. Sales' down-home style provides an easy reading account, and don't expect in-your-face lavatory humour, but something that your maiden aunt would chuckle at. As much as I recommend 'The Specialist' to anyone, I cannot do the same for the follow-up, 'Master Builder'. For good reason it took 60+ years for it to be published in Britain. In expanding it into a book of general advice for businessmen (albeit a very short one), like many follow-ups it has the feel of cashing in on the original[ASIN:0370309278 The Master Builder].
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Easy read for a summer evening. 26 Jan 2012
Grab the book and sit yourself down on your front porch with a bottle of wine on a nice summers evening and give yourself an hour or two to breeze through this gentle, easy going little number. It's a very short read, written in an old fashioned manner (well it is an old book) all about and American who builds custom manufactured outdoor toilets. It is written in the words of the builder as though he is telling you his own story as he goes along. Not a fantastic read, not a gripping story, no cliff-hanger ending but you will read it because you can, because it is there, because it is short and because you can. You will be glad you made the effort and spared the time.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Specialist 28 Sep 2009

A classic. Humour and insight into American rural life from a forgotten time. All you ever needed to know about the design, function and aesthetics of 'privy-construction'
The professional consideration of 'bodily-needs'will have you rocking with laughter and in awe of a long-lost craft.
Wish I had one in my own backyard!

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5.0 out of 5 stars Privy Building Made Easy ! ! 16 Jun 2009
For the person who requires additional sanitary accomodation this handy pocket sized manual will prove invaluable. It contains advice on ,Siteing ,size, design and outfittings. These basics are accompanied by an amusing comentry on the privy as an esential social asset,enhancing your position and impresing your neybors.
Lem Putt is Master of "The Art" and a skilled comunicator.
Read "The Specialist ", insert it into conversations and impress your circle. This book is life enhancing. A well set Privy will Make your Day ! ! . Jim Berg.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Best Loo book - ever! 28 Feb 2009
By V. Cook
Over the years I have bought several of these books for friends and relations.

If you are interested in Loo's and One Holers in particular, this is the book for you! It is a true classic and so amusing, but informative as well.

There's nothing you wont know when you've finished this!

Valerie Cook
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Very good. Very short. But only 77p.
Published 29 days ago by Gill Harris
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 1 month ago by BRIAN APPLEBY
5.0 out of 5 stars The specialist
Great little book, It is a quick read ,very funny and some interesting thoughts.
It came in good condition and well packed.
Published 2 months ago by Happy shopper
5.0 out of 5 stars A classic !
This very small book will be read many times. The humour is timeless, providing the reader attempts to replicate the dialect .
Published 6 months ago by A.S.
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read. Every word is a gem.
This is a classic, and a very old favorite of mine. A must read! I give it to everybody I can think of.
Published 8 months ago by Pam
5.0 out of 5 stars A book to have.
I bought this for a friend. I have a copy and would not like to lose it as happens so many times if you lend a book. Read more
Published 10 months ago by Mr. David Hext
5.0 out of 5 stars The specialist
One of my favourite books of all time which I mislaid years ago. I shall enjoy reading it many times. Thank you
Published 15 months ago by J E TOWN
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful little book - well worth reading
I read this book at my grandfathers some 60 years ago, when I saw it on-line I decided to have another look - I wasn't disappointed & although you do have to sift through the... Read more
Published 15 months ago by Stoneman
4.0 out of 5 stars A reading memory not read for 50 years
I chuckled again at the simple construction and practical considerations in this book and reflected how far we have travelled to luxury lavatories of today. Read more
Published 17 months ago by Alexander Kreator
5.0 out of 5 stars Short and sweet
Bin reading this here book for 50 odd years and it's still as good as the first day I picked it up. It's a little masterpiece!
Published 18 months ago by Mr. M. P. Langdon
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