From the earliest times to the present day, society has established rules and taboos, written and unwritten, that tell us what we can say, what we can wear and what we can do in public and in the privacy of our homes. The penalty for breaking these rules has ranged from state-sponsored execution to the most subtle social exclusion. From the Bible telling us what to eat to today's paranoia with political correctness, Philip Thody has compiled all these taboos in a witty and irreverent collection. Thody provides an historical account of how taboos and social rules have operated through the ages and in different societies. This book will appeal to anyone interested in knowing why they can't do certain things and must not do others.