So clean

Lord Leverhulme, soap and civilisation

By Brian Lewis

So clean

Book Information

  • Format: Paperback
  • ISBN: 978-0-7190-8913-8
  • Pages: 256
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £16.99
  • Published Date: October 2012
  • BIC Category: Humanities / British & Irish history, Humanities / Social & cultural history, HISTORY / Europe / Great Britain, HISTORY / Social History, European history, United Kingdom, Great Britain, History, Modern History


This book is an unorthodox biography of William Hesketh Lever, 1st Lord Leverhulme (1851-1925), the founder of the Lever Brothers' Sunlight Soap empire. So clean places Lever squarely in his social and cultural context and is fully informed by recent historical scholarship, using him as an entry-point for contextualized and comparative essays on the history of advertising; on factory paternalism, town planning, the Garden City movement and their ramifications across the twentieth century; and on colonialism and forced labour in the Belgian Congo and the South Pacific. It concludes with a discussion of his extraordinary attempt, in his final years, to transform crofting and fishing in the Outer Hebrides. Written in an engaging and accessible style, So clean will appeal to academics and students working in business, social, cultural and imperial history.


1. The Napoleon of soap 2. Soft soap and soap operas 3. Sunlight for the unwashed 4. Sunlight for savages 5. Twilight Select bibliography Index


Brian Lewis is Associate Professor of History at McGill University, Montreal

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