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The Secret Language of Color: Science, Nature, History, Culture, Beauty of Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, and Violet Hardcover – October 22, 2013

ISBN-13: 978-1579129491 ISBN-10: 1579129498

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The Secret Language of Color: Science, Nature, History, Culture, Beauty of Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, and Violet + Color: A Natural History of the Palette + Interaction of Color: 50th Anniversary Edition
Price for all three: $47.72

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers (October 22, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1579129498
  • ISBN-13: 978-1579129491
  • Product Dimensions: 10.3 x 10.4 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #24,188 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Where does the phrase blue blood come from? Why do most doctors wear green scrubs? These and other questions are answered in the Eckstut&'s fascinating study of color. After throwing readers into the deep end with scientific explanations about how our brains process information and declarations like wavelengths of light do not exist as color until we see them, the authors move on to more accessible and lively examinations of colors and the roles they&'ve played in history as well as evolution. Each hue gets a biography of sorts, as the authors examine its cultural (the Egyptians placed a high value on blue and it was one of the first synthetic pigments) and in some cases biological significance (different colors attract different animals). The science behind rainbows and why they never appear the same way to two people; why the grass is always greener across the street (you&'re not seeing the imperfections); and a litany of other color-related trivia round out the book. The book&'s dynamic design and short entries make it easy to skim, but it&'s likely that those intending just a casual perusal will find themselves engrossed by this terrifically entertaining and informative volume. Illus. Agent: Jim Levine, Levine Greenberg Literary Agency. (Oct.)

Review

The evanescent phenomenon of colour has gripped great minds from Plato to Isaac Newton, all the way through to researchers who now probe the links between blue light and circadian rhythms.  In this many-hued tome, Joann and Arielle Eckstut zip through optics and electromagnetism.  They then explore colour in art, such as the pointillist work of George-Pierre Seurat, and in nature, from minerals to nebulae. Fact-filled and flamboyantly illustrated.


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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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A sumptuous festive feast for the eyes, every page a work of art.
David Henry Sterry
The authors tied in science, emotion, history and a very solid grounding in the present.
Constance Curtin
I feel like I just traveled to a beautiful land--one that I have never seen before.
Elizabeth A. Jesse

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Guest Hollow on October 30, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Wow! What a stunning visual feast! The Secret Language of Color is an ambitious book that covers a variety of topics having to with colors including chemistry, nature, history, culture, art, people and more.

From the beginning of the book:

"Anyone who claims to be an expert on color is a liar. A true expert would have
to be fluent in physics, chemistry, astronomy, optics, neuroscience, geology,
botany, zoology, human biology, linguistics, sociology, anthropology, art history,
and cartography; and the list goes on and on. We thought we were color
experts before we wrote this book, but we were brought to our senses by the
breadth and depth of the material.

Now we like to describe ourselves as color tourists who traveled the world of
color--its jungles, deserts, cities, forests, rural villages, seas, monuments, and
museums--and made it back alive. Along the way, we collected our favorite things.
Perhaps the most important thing we learned in our travels, the thing that
explains why color is so omnipresent in our lives is this: more than 80 percent
of the activity in the neocortex (the part of our brain that deals with
everything from language to movement to problem solving) comes via our
eyes. The vast majority of information we process from the outside world is
visual. And everything we see is colored.

...Whether you see red, are a shrinking violet, are green with envy, talk a blue
streak, or are in a black mood, we hope that our book will celebrate, illuminate,
and paint a colorful picture of this amazing force of nature.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Laura Schenone on November 10, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
We tend to think of aesthetics and science as two separate paths of thought. Artists vs Engineers. Humanities vs Technology. But this book brings the two together in an unexpected and eye-opening (so to speak) way. One amazing explanation after the next as to how plants, earth, heavens, evolution, and the human brain come together to bring us the perception of color. You can read this book and try to wrap your mind around the science, and you'll be a better person for it. Or you can go through page after page of gorgeous images and be awakened and more aware of what you see. Highly recommend for anyone who is a designer or artist as well as science types.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By David Wineberg TOP 1000 REVIEWER on October 22, 2013
Format: Hardcover
The Secret Language of Color is appropriately, a feast for the eyes. It divides itself into basic colors and categories, and provides a rich sampling of things, concepts and facts associated with that color - or colors in that field. It's a nice concept, and it is delightfully executed by 8 ˝ Design (though you might need a magnifying glass to read the captions). Each chapter has its own template backdrop that you first see in the table of contents, which itself is a collection of the templates with large page numbers, instead of a simple list. The chapters themselves use the template image as the bleeding edge of their pages. The text is the color of the chapter (The first chapter is rainbow gradient). Lots of colorful photos, a bunch of color illusion tests, and all kinds of factoids. The images often stretch across two pages, and the layout is festively inconsistent. Even the Acknowledgements manages to color everyone's name differently. It's a stylish overview.

You learn a bunch of things, like why stones look more colorful when wet (Light-scattering effects off the stone's surface are muted by the wet covering), where Yellow Journalism came from (The popular Yellow Kid cartoons, claimed by two major papers because of the readership it brought in), and the odd fact that cardinals and flamingos get their red/pink colors from what they eat. Change their diet, and they lose their hues.

I particularly liked the introduction, where the authors state their primary discovery: "Anyone who claims to be an expert in color is a liar," is how it begins. Color is so central so every field, every science, every art, and every being that no one can possibly have a complete handle on it.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Constance Curtin on November 7, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This was a wonderful book! The authors tied in science, emotion, history and a very solid grounding in the present. It included how different cultures view color, how history has viewed color, the emotions behind the colors we see, the science behind how we see what we see, and even a brief tour of what color means in the universe. If you thought this book was about decorating or fashion, you would be wrong. This book is about life, and how we see it.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Elizabeth A. Jesse on October 26, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
There is so much good to say about this beautiful book. It is not just a book. It is an experience! It is fabulous. I feel like I just traveled to a beautiful land--one that I have never seen before. I am in awe! I am buying another copy before they realize they should have charged much more than 29.95. There is SO MUCH information on about every aspect of color, with beautiful art and charts in full color, on glossy pages. What a great work. How these women put this together baffles my mind. It is pure genius.
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