One Thousand Beards: A Cultural History of Facial Hair

Front Cover
arsenal pulp press, 2001 - Health & Fitness - 227 pages
3 Reviews
As seen in Time Magazine, Esquire, and The New Yorker!



Every man has the capacity to grow facial hair, but the decision to do so has always come with layers of meaning. Facial hair has traditionally marked a passage into manhood, but its various manifestations have been determined by class, religious belief, historical precedent, and occupational status. Beards have at one time or another come to represent wisdom, goodness, sorcery, diabolism, psychological depth, and revolution; they have been purchased, elaborately trimmed, adorned, and dyed, and deracinated as a form of torture. To this day, the act of displaying facial hair is still regarded as a form of ultimate cool.

With wit and insight, One Thousand Beards explores the historical meaning of beards, moustaches, sideburns, and other forms of facial hair, from Freud's psychoanalytic interpretation, to a wild trip through history, to a rogue's gallery of famous bearded or moustached men, including Abraham Lincoln, Joseph Stalin, Backstreet Boy A.J. McLean, and Yosemite Sam.

Now in its third printing

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - juliayoung - LibraryThing

Pretty much anything you would ever want to know about facial hair is included in Peterkin's book. It contains entertaining chapters on everything from bearded women to the significance of facial hair ... Read full review

User Review - Flag as inappropriate

"Norman the Conqueror did not wear a beard before the conquest, but he and his followers assumed them soon after."
Terrible prose and inaccuracy. Someone should write a cultural history of facial
hair, but it should not be the author of this book.
In case it isn't clear. William was the conqueror, he was from Normandy. One does not put beards on and take them off like clothing, so it is difficult to "not wear" and then "assume" one.
 

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About the author (2001)

Allan Peterkin is a psychiatrist and the author of numerous books, including One Thousand Beards: A Cultural History of Facial Hair. He lives in Toronto, Canada.

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