Read Hair: A Human History by Kurt Stenn Online


Most people don't give a second thought to the stuff on their head, but hair has played a crucial role in in fashion, the arts, sports, commerce, forensics, and industry. In Hair, Kurt Stenn — one of the world's foremost hair follicle experts — takes readers on global journey through history, from fur merchant associations and sheep farms to medical clinics and patient supMost people don't give a second thought to the stuff on their head, but hair has played a crucial role in in fashion, the arts, sports, commerce, forensics, and industry. In Hair, Kurt Stenn — one of the world's foremost hair follicle experts — takes readers on global journey through history, from fur merchant associations and sheep farms to medical clinics and patient support groups, to show the remarkable impact hair has had on human life.From a completely bald beauty queen with alopecia to the famed hair-hang circus act, Stenn weaves the history of hair through a variety of captivating examples, with sources varying from renaissance merchants’ diaries to interviews with wig makers, modern barbers, and more. In addition to expelling the biological basis and the evolutionary history of hair, the fiber is put into context: hair in history (as tied to textile mills and merchant associations), hair as a construct for cultural and self-identity, hair in the arts (as the material for artist's brushes and musical instruments), hair as commodity (used for everything from the inner lining of tennis balls to an absorbent to clean up oil spills), and hair as evidence in criminology. Perfect for fans of Mark Kurlansky, Hair is a compelling read based solidly in historical and scientific research that will delight any reader who wants to know more about the world around them....

Title : Hair: A Human History
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781681773469
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 256 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Hair: A Human History Reviews

  • Shane Evans
    2019-02-26 00:19

    I am a big fan of microhistories, books that explore one subject and show how important and wide-ranging the impact that topic has had on the world. So I was very excited to see this book on hair. As a biology teacher I am on the lookout for microhistories on topics that students are familiar with, that also explore, from a unique angle, the fundamentals of biology. Ever since I read "Academically Adrift" a few years ago, I have been very concerned about including more outside reading in my survey courses. Dr. Stenn has written a masterpiece that is ideal for the college classroom. It is a general biology course in and of itself. I would love to have my Human Anatomy and Physiology I students read this book. It is the perfect length (~170 pages), the writing is wonderful, the book is extremely well-organized, and more importantly, most of us are obsessed about our hair. The book is absolutely fascinating and would make an excellent starting point for deeper explorations by students.

  • Aimee
    2019-02-28 19:23

    I would have enjoyed this more if it explored the cultural aspects of hair more than the scientific ones, but the author is coming at it from a biological perspective more than a sociological one.

  • Anita
    2019-03-21 18:37

    this is a Solid Nonfiction Book and really Gave Me The Facts I Wanted for instance: a question I had asked before is, does hair Get Wet, or does it merely hold water in between? this is a question that was posed on reddit in 2014 but wouldn't you rather read about it in this Nonfiction Book which actually explains the cuticle and why I have split ends? next up: a book that explains to me why I can't stop playing w my hair when im stressed out

  • Sarah -
    2019-03-03 21:29

    I know, I know. A book about hair is something that I should love. But there are a few facts that I question, such as the statement that Anne Boleyn had her head shaved before her execution. I've never read that before. The son of Louis and Marie Antoinnette was referred to as the Dauphine not the Dauphin. I'm curious as to what else might be wrong, but I don't recognize that it is wrong because I don't have prior knowledge of it.Full review to come.+++++++Check out my full review on my blog:

  • University of Chicago Magazine
    2019-02-26 00:40

    Kurt Stenn, LAB'57, SB'61AuthorFrom our pages (Spring/16): "Hair complements our fashion trends, is found in musical instruments, aids in forensic science—and has become part of our identity. Follicle expert Kurt Stenn, former director of skin biology at Johnson and Johnson, explores many biological, cultural, and anthropological strands of hair and its history, including the science behind relaxers and dyes, the role of hair shirts in medieval religion, the art of wig making, the use of hair in commercial products from brushes to tennis balls, and more."

  • Tracey
    2019-03-10 17:24

    A quick interesting read. However, it seriously needed a fact-checker/editor. I can guarantee you that women in the late 18th century weren't following Queen Victoria's example by making mourning jewelry out of hair. Also, the male heir to the French throne is the Dauphin (not Dauphine) and those plants along the shores of the river are cattails, not a cat-o'-nine tails. Unfortunately, mistakes like that make me question everything else I read.

  • Zivile
    2019-03-11 21:27

    It's a short history of human hair through scientific and sociological perspectives. Nothing ground-breaking but a good compilation of various information

  • Kim
    2019-03-04 22:19

    I couldn't resist this book at the library because of the hair on the cover. Good job, cover designers. Got a lot of info about how hair works, for sure--sometimes in a more clinical way than I'd have preferred, but it's definitely thorough. I particularly liked learning random details about how felting works and why people's hair might fall out to some degree about three months after a traumatic experience. I appreciated the first two thirds of the book, which focus on human hair, far more than the last bit, which extends to other kinds of hair like beaver fur and sheep's wool.

  • Smudge
    2019-02-20 19:34

    Interesting. A fine, easy to understand overview of hair; though it focuses much more on the biology than that social history of hair. Not quite what the cover promises but interesting if you’re into that sort of thing.

  • Marsha
    2019-03-21 18:22

    This book covers multiple grounds when it discusses hair. I had always thought about it as dead matter on the top of my head and thus paid it scant attention unless I wanted it clean and free of dirt, mites and snarls. I also didn’t want my scalp to itch or spread disease. What else was required? Well, hair—human and otherwise—has always been a source of political, sociological, medical and/or religious debate. Secular laws have been formed around it; religious prohibitions or strictures have been erected on its stylings, presence or absence and the solving of crimes have hinged on single strands of hair. This book goes into all these topics and more as it delves into the hidden significance of that thatch resting on our skin. The scientific nature of human and animal hair gets more than sufficient coverage; Mr. Stenn's language is clear and concise but perhaps the scientific underpinnings are a little too esoteric for most casual readers. I also would have preferred more in the way of illustrations. The short section in the middle of the book, featuring photographs, paintings and images of sculpture, seems a little too scant although it does touch on the various chapters Mr. Stenn includes in his book. No matter. The majority of the book is riveting reading. This book is a handy primer for anyone who’s ever wanted to know more about hair.

  • Ron
    2019-03-04 23:31

    An interesting enough discussion of the biology of hair, both human and animal, the way it grows, and ceases to grow, the uses hair has been put to (he includes here beaver fur and wool, especially) and various oddities about hair. (If chopped up finely enough, as it is sometimes done incidentally in the preparation of various foodstuffs, hair is digestible, but as long fibers, it is not.)I thought the external comments on the cover, etc., promised more than it delivered. Another one of those books that I am inexplicably drawn to, that focus minutely on one aspect of the experience of life, and try to make a big deal out of it.I might remember a few odd details, but it was not that memorable a book.

  • Dena
    2019-02-25 19:21

    What a fun micro-history! I've had a complicated relationship with my own hair, and this book caught my eye one day when I was keyword-bombing my library's catalogue. If you believe hair isn't just something you wash and dry, you might enjoy Hair: A Human History.Kurt Stenn offers a really engaging look at human hair throughout time, starting way back before humans even existed. History lovers will enjoy the connections Stenn makes to the economic, religious, cultural and socio-political shifts that impacted hair -- the styles and uses thereof (and vice versa). Other hair-y recommendations: documentary filmGood Hair, narrated by Chris Rock.

  • Erin
    2019-03-12 22:39

    Meh, just not my type of book. I like the history behind things but this book was just too slow and not enough excitement for what I was looking for. I have a few other of Kurt's books on my "To Read" list and I am excited to see how those go.

  • MsMead
    2019-02-20 01:21

    I enjoyed the quirky facts of this book, but was looking for something that explained cultural and historical attitudes to human hair on the head and body. Didn't expect so much about animal hair.