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One Thousand Beards: A Cultural History of Facial Hair Paperback – July 1, 2002
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From Publishers Weekly
Early cave paintings show Stone Agers plucking out facial hair with sea shells, suggesting that the decision to grow or not grow a beard is almost as old as human society itself. Allan Peterkin's One Thousand Beards: A Cultural History of Facial Hair traces the beard's (and the razor's) storied past, including styles, regulations and cultural significance from the ancient Egyptians to the present day. The breezy and concise illustrated volume also covers the various religious meanings of beards, facial hair in gay culture, bearded ladies and the beard as interpreted by Freud. Peterkin includes instructions for washing, dying, trimming and shaving all kinds of beards from Amish-style to the Franz Josef.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
An entertaining and informative combination of a history, a documentary, an appreciation and a catalog.
Publishers Weekly (Publishers Weekly)
Touching on both the history and the psychological interpretations of this seemingly minor cultural cue, Peterkin analyzes the ever-changing shaving practices of celebrities, criminals, and carnival performers.
Quill & Quire (Quill & QUire)
Full of fascinating detail, the book has an accessible tone suited to its subject.
The Globe & Mail (Globe & Mail)
Peterkin entertainingly follows many a revealing strand. . .
Toronto Star (Toronto Star)
[This] is an entertaining book for those who boast facial hair and those who don't.
Vancouver Sun (Vancouver Sun)
While Peterkin has fun with witty quips from poets, playrights, philosophers, and theologians through the centuries, he is also quite serious and instructive. . .
Peterkin carves a witty, thought-provoking read from his bewhiskered subject matter.
Jam-packed with beard-related sidebar quotations and facts and figures, One Thousand Beards is a trivia-lover's delight, and an essential reference for anyone giving a barber-college valedictory address.
Fast Forward (Fast Forward)
This is the kind of information that can only make life happier, funnier, and a little bit more full. It not only freshly stocked my cache of trivia, but it opened my mind to the wealth of stories I can find in all of the places I would have never thought to look.
Worn Fashion Journal (www.wornjournal.com) (Worn Fashion Journal 2009-07-23)
Top customer reviews
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His interest was piqued, he says in his introduction to this delightful book, in "one of those perverse moments of inspiration." Walking to work in downtown Toronto, "rather than indulging my own thoughts as usual," he started noticing faces, and he then noticed that more than a third of the males were in some fashion bearded, soul patched, sideburned, mustachioed - and so it began. He wanted to uncover the meanings of facial hair, the "unconscious reasons" that men grew and tended beards, and even the "ritualistic symbolism of shaving." He wondered what women thought about beards. His survey expanded to his colleagues, his psychotherapy patients, and strap-hangers on the Toronto subway. (You might guess that he asked his friends, too.) He was off and running.
This marvelous and generously-illustrated book is the result of his considerable ability to tackle his subject with energy, brainpower, humor and a sense of fun. It's a documentary, a history, a survey, an appreciation, and a catalogue. There are hundreds of black and white illustrations, and topical quotations from famous and not so famous beard-wearers. Chapter 6 deals with the (usually) unwanted thing: "The Feminine Beard." The compulsory beard (the Taliban being a recent and dramatic example of mandatory beardedness) is examined, too - in a chapter on religious beards. There's a "Timeline of Queer Facial Hair" among other remarkable bits of information in the chapter "The Gay Beard."
Facial hair's inevitable products and labors (shaving cream, razors, clippers, trimmers, and more) are included. Chapter 13, "The Personal Beard: Grooming Strategies" is a sort of owner's manual. If Great-grand-dad is no longer around to show you how to strop a razor, you can use Peterkin's instructions.
There are a lot of useful addresses and websites listed at this book's end (even "Where to Order False Facial Hair" should you need some), an extensive bibliography but, unfortunately, no index. Nonetheless this is a delightful book that is comprehensive and smart - and also a lot of fun. I know that I won't look at or think about facial hair in quite the same way ever again.
I just finished reading this book and found it fascinating, enlightening, educational, and historical. ONE THOUSAND BEARDS also had a brilliant editor. The content follows a pattern organizational content put together beautifully from the introduction to the bibliography.
Allan Peterkin gave me the opportunity to look up certain words that I did not know the meanings of. However, I completed reading the book first and underlined parts of its vocabulary. Instead of using the dictionary during my reading, I waited until I waited until I was finished digesting the entire content of ONE THOUSAND BEARDS.
This is not a four star book. It is worth ten stars. Forget about the 1992 publishing date. ONE THOUSAND BEARDS is current, to the point, and an incredible read.
I was so impressed with this book; I would consider it an honor if I could get my copy autographed by the author. Hopefully if Allan Peterkin reads my review he will contact me through Amazon and make my wish a reality.
I have a great deal of respect for its author. The only thing left to say is congratulations.