- Paperback: 320 pages
- Publisher: Bloomsbury USA (March 18, 2004)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1582344027
- ISBN-13: 978-1582344027
- Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.8 x 7.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 12 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,011,402 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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On Blondes Paperback – March 18, 2004
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“An engaging and dishy read, On Blondes will have power-hungry brunettes reaching for the peroxide.” ―Entertainment Weekly
“Blondes aren't stupid. Hillary Clinton runs New York, Madonna heads the music industry and Diane Sawyer is ABC's Everywoman. Is hair color a coincidence? Not likely.” ―Playboy
“Ms. Pitman... draws interesting parallels between the Nazis' adulation of the blond, the Soviet Union's promotion of the dynamic blond ideal, and 'the development of a radiantly sunlit blond American ideal, the WASP American dream.'” ―New York Times
“Pitman's engaging style only highlights the appeal of this combination of history, folklore, and shrewd cultural commentary.” ―Booklist
About the Author
Joanna Pitman is the photography critic for the London Times and a features writer for the Times Magazine, where she also worked as Tokyo bureau chief from 1990 to 1994. She lives in London with her husband and two daughters.
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The negative reviews are by women who have taken this book way too personally. That's unfortunate and unfair. It is not fair to blame the author for the message that some men, historically even, prefer blondes. In fact, I happen to be one of those men.
It is easy reading and, more importantly, it is truly interesting. Ms. Pitman traces the history of the blonde, a subject that she points out has been taboo in the past due to Hitler's fascination with just this subject. It is interesting to discover where I would fit at different points in history. At some points, I would be considered a goddess, the symbol of purity; at others, I would be considered the most vile of temptresses. (Obviously, either choice seems appealing in its own way!)
I think blondes would probably find this book most interesting, however, brunettes and redheads may be able to appreciate it also. If you take an interest in popular culture and why we believe what we believe, this is definitely a work you should consider adding to your library.
Each chapter directs the reader through the seductive seven lives of Blonde hair from the Dark Ages to present day. Pitman teaches the extremes that the Romans and Greeks and succeeding generations went to for blonde curls. This self-abuse for blonde went on for centuries to the detriment of health and scalp. Substances as natural as saffron and as toxic as ammonia, bleach and the aforementioned goat urine were used to achieve the desired shade of blonde.
The zest for blonde has not always been positive; in fact most of it seemed quite negative. "Blonde hair was highly divisive and provoked extreme reactions." Nowhere is this more apparent than during Hitler's reign. Pitman's journey into Teutonic and Aryan history is informative and answered many questions for me on the German philosophy of Blonde hair/blue eyed superiority and how Hitler managed to promote it despite his dark colouring; propaganda. After World War II the world knew of Germany's love of blonde hair.
This book reads like a weekly dose of the History channel with each chapter being a new episode in the series of events. In some areas she seems to ramble off topic, going on about relationships or other personal quirks of the personalities. The history of the white flour wigs drags on long after the main idiosyncrasies were driven home.
In the afterword Pitman states she approached "several American women academics," on the study potential of blondeness and they "refused to discuss it at all." Perhaps a sign that they are embarrassed they didn't discover the topic themselves. I'm sure Pitman's On Blondes will be a text in future feminine study.
On Blondes left a lasting impression on me. I've begun to question every form of blondeness that I see. From a blonde perspective this is an informative book but I wonder if there would be the same interest with the brunettes and redheads of the world. And for those who may be wondering, yes it is natural.
Review Originally Posted at [...]
Pitman perhaps has done a better job on researching than on writing.
Most recent customer reviews
The author takes us on a trip into the whys, wheres, hows and whens.Read more