This text-only-book is written as Margo's masters degree, and you can tell. It's obvious alot of the content is there for the faculty, and not for the random tattoo enthusiast. The first 50 or so pages (the whole book only has 200 in total) go into tedious discriptions of what a "community" is or isn't, and has very little to do with tattoos. However when it finally gets started, it's full of interesting anecdotes and facts, although I had a feeling it was only scraping the top of the cream, and leaves a wanting for further explainations. It would also have been nice to have a picture or illustration here and there as examples, alas none is to be found. It's written in an easy to understand way, though she does have a tendency to say things twice and to repeat herself ;)
Most anoying though is the thick layer of American patriotism speckled throughout the book. Other countries with long tattoo traditions are mentioned only in brief sub-sentences, and the writer tries really hard to assertain that tattooing is "as American as apple pie and mom"(?!) The extreme patriotism might feel a bit silly and arrogant for an un-american reader.
Overall it was an interesting read, but leaves the reader wanting more.
I am beginning my masters research on the cultural aspects of body modification and have just read this as a begginnings to my more in depth research. I loved it! Although focused on the American cultural history of tattooing it did touch upon European differences and, of course, tattooing's origins and fashions of other world cultures. As the previous reviewer said it did focus on patriotism but then so did tattooing's American history. An excellent place to start on body modification theory-if you want pictures then look on google, if you want theory and discussion of where tattoing has come in the last 100 years this is a good place to start.