This is a beautifully designed publication certain to be rewarding to someone seeking an overview of the subject. The text, while not truly in depth, is very readable and is written in a vernacular yet polished style. Customs of the various cultures and periods, along with manners and gender roles in society, are covered as well. Ancient Europe and the Mesopotamian cultures (Sumer, Babylon, and Assyria) are omitted. Some of Ms. Cosgrave's information about other early cultures - especially the Egyptians - does not totally coincide with other authors and should not be taken as gospel, but rather as a possible interpretation. In other chapters, some of the observations and conclusions are quite insightful. The illustrations are wonderful and astutely chosen (with the exception of some 19th century line drawings used to illustrate early Egyptian, Greek and Roman costume.) The illustrations are also reproduced well, and the number of color plates is quite abundant for a book of this price. The books main weakness, and this is a big weakness, is that these beautiful and well chosen illustrations are not consistently attributed with the date, name of the work, artist, or museum, and in fact some of them are incorrectly identified or dated. Also, in the sections of the book on the 19th and 20th centuries - both in the illustration placement as well as the text - the reader does not really get a clear picture of the looks of the individual decades and periods within these centuries. Given the rapid changes of silhouettes and styles that occur in these years, a more thorough and detailed account would be welcome. With these notable reservations, this publication has still achieved reasonable success, and is still a recommendable text on the subject, especially for novices. The attractive price - especially the Amazon price - makes this a good value as well and contributes to its overall rating.