In its typical National Geographic-style publication Why’d They Wear That? by Sarah Albee is a superb volume. Whether the readers are older children, young adults, or adults, they’ll likely find this book absolutely fascinating. It is not only filled with interesting information but has illustrations on every page with good informative captions. You can spend hours reading this book or just paging through it. The nine chapters cover human history periods at a time starting 10,000 years ago and ending in current times. The information focuses on clothing but extends to fashions, hairdos, wigs and makeup, even patches to cover up scars of syphilis, and smallpox or war injuries. We see the clothing of working class, middle class and ruling class, also warriors and those of athletic events (in case of ancient Greeks, none). The illustrations range from photos of sculptures, paintings, frescoes and tapestry to actual photographs in more modern times. The many illustrated sidebars are wonderful, brief and informative. We find intriguing information like the purple dye that was so difficult to produce in ancient times that it was reserve only for clothing of royalty. Or the well-insulated clothing of the Inuit made from walrus intestines. Overall, a great read.
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