Red (Paperback)

A History of the Redhead

By Jacky Colliss Harvey

Black Dog & Leventhal, 9780316473866, 240pp.

Publication Date: March 13, 2018

List Price: 17.99*
* Individual store prices may vary.


RED is a brilliantly told, captivating history of red hair throughout the ages. A book that breaks new ground, dispels myths, and reinforces the special nature of being a redhead, with a look at multiple disciplines, including science, religion, politics, feminism and sexuality, literature, and art.

With an obsessive fascination that is as contagious as it is compelling, author Jacky Colliss Harvey (herself a redhead) begins her exploration of red hair 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; 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, under the reign of 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.

About the Author

Jacky Colliss Harvey is a writer and editor, and the author of My Life As A Redhead: A Journal and the forthcoming The Animal's Companion. She studied English at Cambridge University and art history at the Courtauld Institute. She works in museum publishing and is a commentator and reviewer who speaks 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 splits her time between New York and London.

Praise For Red: A History of the Redhead

"An important, fascinating read for redheads--and others--everywhere."—Elle

"Lively...intellectually wide-ranging."—The Wall Street Journal

"The magnetic appeal of red hair... is the subject of a fascinating new book, RED: A History of the Redhead, by Jacky Colliss Harvey - herself one of the tribe."—Vogue

"Engaging...light-hearted but erudite history."
Washington Post