Monday, March 14, 2016

Kurt Stenn's "Hair: A Human History"

Kurt Stenn has over 30 years of expertise studying hair. He had a distinguished twenty-year academic career as a Professor of Pathology and Dermatology at the Yale University School of Medicine and was for ten years Director of Skin Biology at Johnson & Johnson.

Stenn applied the “Page 99 Test” to his new book, Hair: A Human History, and reported the following:
Page 99 of Hair: A Human History is a particularly auspicious hit because on that page I begin to describe one of the most interesting tools humans use to position hair: wigs. The book is a comprehensive description of the human experience with hair from that on the head and body to that derived from animals, and I write about everything from the fur trade and the wool industry to hair’s use in forensics, hair in art, and hair in molecular biology. Before page 99, I describe the ability of body hair to send messages—of sexual attraction, humanness, religion, culture, domination, and subjugation. Wigs supplant native hair when that hair is either not there or the hair is not suitable for the message desired.

Wigs are fascinating because they have an incredible power to transform. A person donning a wig after chemotherapy-induced hair loss generally regains the feeling of her old, healthy self. A wig on a balding male can make him feel young again. A wig on an actor can help him assume the presence of his character. And it doesn’t even have to be scalp hair: When the iconic moustache is placed on David Suchet, the gifted actor suddenly becomes Hercule Poirot.
Learn more about Hair: A Human History at the publisher's website.

Writers Read: Kurt Stenn.

--Marshal Zeringue