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Chucks!: The Phenomenon of Converse Chuck Taylor All Stars Hardcover – November 17, 2007


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Skyhorse Publishing (November 17, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1602390797
  • ISBN-13: 978-1602390799
  • Product Dimensions: 7.6 x 7.6 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #641,246 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In this fawning fashionography, readers will find more than they ever wanted to know about the enduring line of Converse basketball shoes worn by hip athletes, lithe hipsters, Pollyannas and iconoclasts. Originally a rubber shoe company, Converse rolled out the canvas All Star in 1917, nicknamed "Chucks" for the basketball hall-of-famer, Chuck Taylor, who was a lifelong advocate. Chucks-obsessed Peterson chronicles the shoe's evolution from stylishly unsupportive court sneaker to the all-purpose footwear embraced by those who are "hip and fashion-oriented, part of the counterculture, nerd-like, or just regular folks." Peterson tries to dig up the secret of their appeal through owner interviews, a menagerie of trivia and a quirky collection of photos that range from art-house to prom-tacky. Anyone who has ever owned a pair will appreciate the movie and TV sightings: Brendan Fraiser's thawed caveman in Encino Man, Ice Cube in Anaconda, Timmy in Lassie and virtually the entire cast of The Wonder Years among them. Though Peterson can get carried away, it's hard to deny these high tops are as American as Apple Pie and Paris Hilton, and this book is a worthy appreciation of their place in the pop culture canon.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

About the Author

Hal Peterson launched chucksconnection.com, the world's most popular web site dedicated to the Chuck Taylor shoe.

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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Aaron S. Goldberg on August 7, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I was very excited in the last fall when I heard that a book about "Chucks" was being published. I raced to get my copy quickly, and had it within the first month. It was a very fast read and had some great information and cool pictures. However, I would have liked to see more "vintage" photos from the "Chucks as basketball shoes" era. Also, I thought there was perhaps too much focus on the classic black chucks (although admittingly they are by far the most popular style. There was also a huge error in the book. The author claims that "Optical white" was the second Chuck Taylor model to be released. Actually, unbleached is clearly the older of the two. Optical weren't invented until at least the 1960s and were still pretty rare into the 1990s, although they are much more common than the unbleached now (which are still a "core color"). It was clearly the unbleached and NOT the Optical that Mr. Taylor liked the best. I suppose Peterson was confused because advertisements before the 1960s were never taken from photographs and what was drawn looked like optical white.
Peterson's comments about "nothing saying 1950s like Chuck Taylors" are also off-base. Although they existed at the time, it is quite difficult to find any TV or movie clips prior to the 1970s that feature them (oddly one of the most famous examples-Opie Taylor on the extremely popular Andy Griffith Show, was not mentioned in the book). A better way to phrase it would have been "nothing says "pretending to be the 1950s like Chuck Taylors." Chances are if a movie or TV show made in the last 35 years is set in the 1950s or 1960s, you will probably see some guy wearing Chucks. If he isn't a basketball player, it's probably not realistic. It would be interesting to explore exactly why so many people in charge of wardrobe for these retro movies/TV shows seem to think all the guys wore Chucks in those days. Overall, a pretty good book and I've ordered many pairs of shoelaces from the website.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Mark A. Recob on January 7, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Converse made and continues to make the best and coolest sneakers ever. This book tells the story of Chucks in words and lots of color pictures. A must have for every Converse fan.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Robert Parker on February 3, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Great book and well written. Full of wonderful photography of the Chucks in both high tops and low cut style. Filled to the max with info and easy to read stories from folks all across the country. Great item for any guy (or gal) who is fascinated with Chucks and the history of this American icon of a shoe. Get the book and a lace up your favorite high tops Chucks and enjoy the reading.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on January 24, 2014
Format: Hardcover
I love this book and highly recommend it to everyone who has the slightest interest in sneakers (UK: plimsolls or trainers) or tennis shoes.

Unfortunately, I have to say the book does has flaws. While many don't matter, the one I would like to mention comes from page 130 and deals with Jeff Stone (Paul Petersen) on "The Donna Reed Show." While the book says Jeff Stone wears Converse Chuck Taylor All Stars, he is wearing Keds / Pro-Keds. I say this because when you look at the scenes where the soles of the sneakers are visible you'll see they are not those of Converse Chucks. Instead they are those used by Keds and some Pro-Keds models for Boys and Men.

As you can see by my 5 out 5 star rating, this flaw does not take away from the overall aspect of the book. My hope is a future edition (and I hope one will come) will need to deal with this issue. I would ask / suggest the author consider expanding the scope of a future edition (or new book) to include sneakers similar to Chucks or (better) sneakers people can / do misidentify with Converse Chucks.
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Format: Hardcover
I was pretty underwhelmed with this book. While I appreciated the history of chucks that was included, and info on Taylor himself, a lot of the book read more like an advertisement for chucks. There were entire paragraphs dedicated to single colors and stylistic details, which I thought was a bit excessive. And the fact that chucks went from being made in the USA to being manufactured by slave labor in Asia was entirely glossed over. Beyond that, the book is well-written and nicely produced, and would be a nice overview for someone entirely unfamiliar with chucks.
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