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Permanent Waves: The Making of the American Beauty Shop

1 customer review
ISBN-13: 978-0814793589
ISBN-10: 0814793584
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Editorial Reviews


"A cut above most workplace histories. Looking at the separate but sometimes overlapping development of European and African-American hairdressing from the early twentieth century to the present, Willett shows how race shaped different trajectories for black and white salons."

-Lingua Franca

"Refreshing to read a history so firmly historicized and grounded in working-class and Afro-American history."

-Journal of Social History

"Offers an unusually comprehensive look at a significant twentieth-century industry and female preoccupation."

-American Historical Review

"With verve, sophistication, and imagination, Julie Willett has discovered the roots of today's hair-care industry in separate searches by African American and Euro-American women for dignified labor, community advancement, and personal beautification. After Permanent Waves, getting your hair done will never be the same again—nor will the study of the shopfloor, professionalization, or the culture of consumption."

-Eileen Boris,University of Virgina

”Combines an evocative portrait of the world of small town beauty shops with a provocative analysis of the hairdressing industry's racial, class, and gender faultlines. Julie Willett explores both the promises of a skilled profession for individual women, white and black, and the realities of low wages, long hours, segregated markets, and assembly-line salons. Covering the entire sweep from the early twentieth century through the present day, this book deserves a prominent, and permanent, place on the reading lists of women's and labor historians."

-Nancy Hewitt,The State University of New Jersey, Rutgers

About the Author

Julie A. Willett is Assistant Professor of History at Texas Tech University.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 262 pages
  • Publisher: NYU Press (June 1, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0814793584
  • ISBN-13: 978-0814793589
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,917,800 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

By Reader on March 10, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Excellent review of the evolution of the American hair care industry through the ages! It is definitely worth the read.
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