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“A finely detailed, borderline obsessive history. . . . Oldstone-Moore is a sensitive observer, who dispenses ironies with a light hand; tonsorially enthralled as he may be, he also seems in on the joke. His style is clipping and spry, free from the haughty grandiloquence and leaden jargoneering that characterizes much academic writing. . . . His long view on our unshaven history is likely to stand unchallenged for some time.”
“We tumble through a series of lively case studies that illustrate those changing conceptions of masculinity Oldstone-Moore supposes changing attitudes to facial hair to represent. Despite excursions into the ancient, and the contemporary, Middle East, the focus remains on Western culture: Jesus’s beard; Lincoln’s beard; Hitler’s mustache.”
“Oldstone-Moore has a fantastic story to tell. . . He sees things other historians ignore and makes useful, even original connections. On Hitler and Stalin, he suggests that ‘an analysis of mustaches might have alerted the Western allies to the real possibility of German-Soviet agreement.’ Perhaps wary of being pigeonholed, he supplies two author photographs, one with a beard and one without. It’s typical of the care, attention and dry wit to be found throughout this wholly admirable book.”
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