Red : A Natural History of the Redhead

3.5 (1,074 ratings by Goodreads)

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A New York Times bestseller

Red is the first book to explore the history of red hair and red-headedness throughout the world.

More than just a book for redheads, Red is a fascinating social and cultural celebration of a rich and mysterious genetic quirk.

With an obsessive fascination that is as contagious as it is compelling: the book explories red hair in the ancient world, the prejudice manifested against redheads across medieval Europe, and red hair during the Renaissance as both an indicator of Jewishness and the height of fashion in Protestant England, thanks to Elizabeth I.

It also examines depictions of red hair in art and literature, looks at modern medicine and the genetic decoding of redheads, and considers red hair in contemporary culture, from advertising to 'gingerism' and bullying.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 240 pages
  • 164 x 242 x 24mm | 533g
  • St Leonards, Australia
  • English
  • Main
  • 3 x 8pp colour images
  • 1925266192
  • 9781925266191
  • 187,220

Review Text

Engagingly informative. Daily Mail
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Review quote

Engagingly informative. * Daily Mail * Colliss Harvey is an engaging narrator. She sets scenes and creates immediacy. She writes eloquently, sometimes humorously, often rousingly. * Independent * [A] bright and breezy cultural history. * The Daily Telegraph * A feisty study of red hair through the ages. * The Mail on Sunday * An entertaining romp through the meaning and mythology of red hair. * The Sunday Times * I devoured the book. Red is an engaging read, playful and smart, packed with facts but never boggy with them. It is both a study and a celebration. It is also the perfect gift idea for any redheads in your life (you're welcome). -- Emma Jane Unsworth * The Big Issue * A fascinating new book. * Vogue US * Red is an important, fascinating read for redheads - and others - everywhere. * Elle US * A fascinating new book. * Guardian * Jacky Colliss Harvey sets out to discover everything - what it takes to make a redhead, where in the world they come from and why they exist at all... [Her] project is personal... Red is a memoir as well as a study. * Spectator * Wide-ranging... Hard to resist. * Country Life * Harvey uses her hair color as a lens to explore the history of mankind... A colorful take on human perceptions and beliefs. * New York Post * Red: A Natural History of the Redhead examines the history of red hair through the ages, as well as focusing on modern-day attitudes to people with red hair. * Irish Examiner * She is as comfortable with the science as she is with cultural history... Jacky Collis Harvey is especially informative on red hair in painting. * Oldie * A light touch and a lively style... intellectually wide-ranging and searching when it comes to issues of discrimination. * The Wall Street Journal (Europe) * Jacky Colliss Harvey - herself a redhead - does a good job of trouncing some of the most flagrant myths. * Press Association * Red: A Natural History of the Redhead looks at the influence and symbolism of red hair through the ages and in aspects of life such as science, religion, politics, feminism and sexuality, advertising, literature and art. * East Aglian * Harvey is eloquent on the cultural expectations that surround redheads. * The Times Literary Supplement *
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About Jacky Colliss Harvey

Jacky Colliss Harvey is a writer and editor. She studied English at Cambridge University and History of Art at the Courtauld Institute of Art. She has worked in museum publishing for the last 20 years and is a commentator and reviewer who speaks in both the UK and abroad on the arts and popular culture. Her red hair has also found her an alternative career as a life model and a film extra playing everything from a society lady in Atonement to a Parisian whore in Bel-Ami. She lives in London.
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Rating details

1,074 ratings
3.5 out of 5 stars
5 17% (181)
4 31% (338)
3 39% (414)
2 11% (119)
1 2% (22)
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