Mongo by Ted Botha
Adventures in Trash

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Synopsis

mongo n. 1 [1970s +] an idiot. 2 [1980s +] (US, New York) any discarded object that is retrieved. 3. [1980s +] (US, New York) a scrap-metal scavenger. (The Cassell Dictionary of Slang)

When journalist Ted Botha moved to New York from South Africa, where people constructed homes out of what others considered trash, he decorated his apartment with furniture he found on Manhattan streets. Soon he realized he wasn't the only person finding things of value in the garbage, and he began roaming the streets meeting all kinds of collectors, united by their obsession with mongo-any discarded item that is rescued from the trash.

Here is Botha's remarkable record of his travels among collectors, who are as varied as the kind of mongo they seek. They range from housewife to homeless man, from accountant to computer consultant, from retrenched bank worker to full-time collector. One man finds jewelry in the sludge of New York's sewers; another has built one of the most extensive rare book collections in the city. The myriad reasons for collecting open a window into the range of human desires: some people collect for fun, others to make a living; some to find friends, others to snoop; some to make a political statement, others because it is an addiction. Collecting mongo is a longtime, universal phenomenon, at last receiving a worthy-and appropriately addictive-literary appreciation.
 

About Ted Botha

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Ted Botha was born in New York and grew up in Japan, South Africa, and Washington, D.C. He has written for the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and the Wall Street Journal, among other publications. His first book, Apartheid in My Rucksack, was a personal account of discovering Africa as a white African.
 
Published June 26, 2004 by Bloomsbury USA. 288 pages
Genres: Political & Social Sciences, Crafts, Hobbies & Home, Education & Reference, Arts & Photography. Non-fiction

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In a subdued, reportorial style, Botha manages to keep a steady voice as he details the pecking order of the mongoists, among them the black-bag slashers, a “lumpen proletariat” of pickers who rank even lower than the sewer-sludge (feces) probers.

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Publishers Weekly

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Born with a horribly disfigured face, Charlotte Godowski spends her first 20 years shunned by her peers and controlled by her mother until a settlement from a sexual harassment suit permits her to cha

Aug 03 1998 | Read Full Review of Mongo: Adventures in Trash

Publishers Weekly

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Born with a horribly disfigured face, Charlotte Godowski spends her first 20 years shunned by her peers and controlled by her mother until a settlement from a sexual harassment suit permits her to cha

Aug 03 1998 | Read Full Review of Mongo: Adventures in Trash

Publishers Weekly

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Botha will conduct NYC mongo walking and collecting tours for booksellers and media, and the publisher will run ads in the New Yorker.

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Entertainment Weekly

Ted Botha is a journalist.

Jun 30 2004 | Read Full Review of Mongo: Adventures in Trash

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