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0 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 5 0.00 (0 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Jacky Colliss Harvey Narrator: Jacky Colliss Harvey Publisher: Hachette Book Group Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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The mere mention of red hair conjures vivid images and provokes strong reactions. Popular stereotypes of redheaded women range from the fiery-tempered vixen and the penitent prostitute—Mary Magdalene is often portrayed in art as a redhead—to the fun-loving scatterbrain Lucille Ball. Red-haired men, meanwhile are consistently associated with either the savage barbarian or the redheaded clown. But why?

Red: A History of the Redhead is the first book to chronicle red hair and redheadedness from prehistory to present day. As both intrepid cultural detective and compelling storyteller, Jacky Colliss Harvey weaves a fascinating history beginning with the moment the redheaded gene made its way out of Africa with the early human diaspora. She goes on to trace red hair in the ancient world, the intolerance manifested against it as an indicator of Jewishness across medieval Europe, red hair as the height of fashion in Renaissance England, the redheaded “stunner” in Pre-Raphaelite art and the paintings of the Impressionists, and into the modern age, from its symbolism and adoration in popular culture to “gingerism,” perhaps the last unacknowledged from of discrimination.

More than a book for redheads, Red is both an exploration of red hair as “other” and a celebration of every aspect of its unique social and scientific heritage, at a time when it has never before been so frequently in the news or played such a prominent role in our visual culture.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Harvey’s intelligent exploration accomplishes the sought-after end of achieving universality from specificity…Red is an important, fascinating read for redheads—and others—everywhere.”


  • “Author Jacky Colliss Harvey….examines age-old portrayals and notions about redheads in art, science and religion.”

    Harper’s Bazaar (A New Summer Must Read)

  • “Engaging…[a] lighthearted but erudite history, relevant even to readers who have never tried to get away with calling their hair ‘Titian.’”

    Washington Post

  • “Witty, wide-ranging study…comprehensive and thoroughly enjoyable.”


  • “This is a topic near and dear to author Jacky Colliss Harvey, a redhead herself, so it’s fitting that she narrates her in-depth exploration of the history and biology of redheads throughout the world. Harvey has a pleasant British accent with clear diction and a knack for tonal variation…She relates fascinating historical and scientific tidbits.”


  • A New York Times Bestseller
  • On the New York Post’s “Required Reading” List
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About the Author

Jacky Colliss Harvey is a writer and editor. She studied English at Cambridge University and art history at the Courtauld Institute. She has worked in museum publishing for the past twenty years and is a commentator and reviewer who speaks in both the UK and abroad on the arts and their relation to popular culture. Her red hair has also found her an alternative career as a life model and a film extra playing everything from a society lady in Atonement to a Parisian whore in Bel-Ami. She lives in London.