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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A sense of humour required
One Thousand Beards is a funny book. That's funny - ha-ha. It's not a serious historical dissertation (how can you be serious about bearded ladies, Freudian (phallic) meaning of beards and the impact of whiskers on the destiny of nations?). There are DREARY, ponderous tomes on the topic (Reynolds volume mentioned by the previous reviewer being but one example)- this is...
Published on 1 Oct 2006 by Typically Canadian Writer

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19 of 25 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A book about beards? Maybe...
One Thousand Beards: Alan Peterkin
Subtitled "A Cultural History of Beards", the big problem with this book is that it doesn't really know what it wants to be: Cultural History, Guidebook, Series of personal anecdotes and observations. Sadly, it fails to be any of these things successfully, largely as a result of the author attempting to be far too clever...
Published on 26 Jan 2002 by Dauvit


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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A sense of humour required, 1 Oct 2006
This review is from: One Thousand Beards: A Cultural History of Facial Hair (Paperback)
One Thousand Beards is a funny book. That's funny - ha-ha. It's not a serious historical dissertation (how can you be serious about bearded ladies, Freudian (phallic) meaning of beards and the impact of whiskers on the destiny of nations?). There are DREARY, ponderous tomes on the topic (Reynolds volume mentioned by the previous reviewer being but one example)- this is not one of them. This book is smart (at times clever), well written and (did I mention?) funny. So maybe it is typically Canadian - in the same way Andrea Martin, Rick Moranis and Jim Carey are. This lively, informative volume is not reccomended for typically academic (public school, a pickle up the proverbial) readers. Normal people with a sense of humour will enjoy it for sure.
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19 of 25 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A book about beards? Maybe..., 26 Jan 2002
This review is from: One Thousand Beards: A Cultural History of Facial Hair (Paperback)
One Thousand Beards: Alan Peterkin
Subtitled "A Cultural History of Beards", the big problem with this book is that it doesn't really know what it wants to be: Cultural History, Guidebook, Series of personal anecdotes and observations. Sadly, it fails to be any of these things successfully, largely as a result of the author attempting to be far too clever with his material.
Peterkin has an irritating writing style and a careless disregard for either "Cultural Studies" (which is how the book is categorised, according to the publisher) or his source material. The book is full of errors, some factual - such as the twice repeated assertion that the word "barbarism" is derived from the latin word for beard, when a glance at any etymology of the English language clearly states that it comes from the Greek for "babbler" - some typographic, and some which show a complete lack of understanding of the subject matter - such as describing King Edward II of England as "gay": a construct that was not invented until around the second half of the twentieth century.
The writing is peppered with "smart" asides - some relevant, most irrelevant - and personal anecdotes, though what grates most is the author's stomach-turning political correctness. His unwillingness to say anything that might offend makes any attempt at analysis worthless. (Dare I make a non-PC aside and say "typically Canadian"?)
One final point: the book twice makes reference to a 1955 publication "Beards - Their Social Standing, Religious Involvements, Decorative Possibilities and Value in Offence and Defence Through the Ages" by one Reginald Reynolds. The author describes this book in negative terms and fails to quote it in the bibliography, yet he quite plainly bases a large amount of his own book on the material in the Reynolds book.
Anyone interested in the subject would do far better to track down a copy of Reynold's book and interpolate the post-1950s material for themselves.
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One Thousand Beards: A Cultural History of Facial Hair
One Thousand Beards: A Cultural History of Facial Hair by Allen Peterkin (Paperback - 1 Mar 2002)
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