A History of the Redhead

Book - 2015
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Grand Central Pub
RED: A HISTORY OF THE REDHEAD is the first book to explore the history of red hair and red-headedness throughout the world. With an obsessive fascination that is as contagious as it is compelling, author Jacky Colliss Harvey begins her quest in prehistory and traces the redhead gene as it made its way out of Africa with the early human diaspora, to its emergence under Northern skies. She goes on to explore red hair in the ancient world (from the Tarim mummies in China to the Islamic kingdom of the Khazars); the prejudice manifested against red hair across medieval Europe; red hair during the Renaissance as both an indicator of Jewishness during the Inquisition and the height of fashion in Protestant England, where it was made famous by the Henry VIII and Elizabeth I; the modern age of art, and literature, and the first positive symbols of red hair in children's characters; modern medicine and science and the genetic and chemical decoding of red hair; and finally, red hair in contemporary culture, from advertising and exploitation to "gingerism"; and the new movement against bullying.
More than a book for redheads, RED is the exploration of evolution and gene mutation, as well as a compelling social and cultural study of how prejudice and misconceptions of "other"; evolve across centuries and continents and from one culture to another.

Baker & Taylor
Traces the history, mythology, and contemporary social thought about red hair and redheads, highlighting genetics, social prejudices, and the hair color's role in advertising.

Book News
English scholar and art historian Harvey traces the history, mythology, and contemporary social thought concerning people--mostly women--with red hair. Red hair is a recessive gene and occurs is only about two percent of the population, though two to six percent in northern and western Europe, she says, and first appeared about 50,000 years ago, as humans migrated from Africa to Central Asia. Annotation ©2015 Ringgold, Inc., Portland, OR (

Publisher: New York : Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers, 2015
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9781579129965
Branch Call Number: 599.948 H2625r 2015
Characteristics: 230 pages, 24 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations (some color), 1 map ; 21 cm
Alternative Title: History of the redhead


From Library Staff

Charlie isn't the only one obsessed with redheads. His Little red-haired girl comes from a long line of ginger maidens. The misconceptions of redheaded women are explored in "Red."

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May 14, 2018

Being a redhead, myself, I certainly found Jacky Harvey's book to be quite an interesting read.

Harvey's in-depth research into the history of the redhead was first-rate and her humour was an extra-nice touch to this book's whole concept.

So, whether you are a redhead, or not - "Red" is sure to be an enjoyable read for one and all.

I don't know about you - But, these days, I, for one, find myself becoming more and more attracted to the wonderful allure of "natural" redheads. It's true.

From those cute carrot-tops, to the positively gorgeous ginger-types, to the radiance of awesome auburn - I've certainly seen some real redheaded stunners (Yep. Freckles and all) in my days.

Yes. Of course, when it comes to blondes, brunettes, and those striking raven-headed ones - There are, unquestionably, some fascinating beauties to behold out there.

But, for me - You just can't beat the marvellous magic of a bona-fide redhead. You can't.

Delightfully (and informatively) written by Jacky Harvey - "The History of the Redhead" sure turned out to be some of the most enjoyable fun that I've ever had reading about the intriguing historical accounts of pure redhead-ism. And, I'm sure it'll be "Ditto" for you, too.

*Note* - This book's captivating cover art is a crop from a painting by Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1828-1882).


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