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Books

Why do men grow beards?

And what do they signify? Almost anything, it turns out from Christopher Oldstone-Moore’s revealing study — except a passing fashion

27 February 2016

9:00 AM

27 February 2016

9:00 AM

Of Beards and Men: The Revealing History of Facial Hair Christopher Oldstone-Moore

University of Chicago Press, pp.352, £21, ISBN: 9780226284002

The ocean that Christopher Oldstone-Moore has set out to chart is as broad as it is shallow: what it has meant to be bearded or shaven in the western world, from before Alexander the Great until the present day. Practicalities — shaving technology and the like — are mentioned from time to time, but only so that their importance can be minimised.

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