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The Secret Lives of Color | Kassia St. Clair

One of USA Today's “100 Books to Read While Stuck at Home During the Coronavirus Crisis"

The unforgettable, unknown history of colors and the vivid stories behind them.

“Beautifully written.... Full of anecdotes and fascinating research, this elegant compendium has all the answers.” (NPR, Best Books of 2017)

The Secret Lives of Color tells the unusual stories of 75 fascinating shades, dyes, and hues. From blonde to ginger, the brown that changed the way battles were fought to the white that protected against the plague, Picasso’s blue period to the charcoal on the cave walls at Lascaux, acid yellow to kelly green, and from scarlet women to imperial purple, these surprising stories run like a bright thread throughout history. 

In this book, Kassia St. Clair has turned her lifelong obsession with colors and where they come from (whether Van Gogh’s chrome yellow sunflowers or punk’s fluorescent pink) into a unique study of human civilization. Across fashion and politics, art and war, the secret lives of color tell the vivid story of our culture. 

“This passionate and majestic compedium will leave you bathed in the gorgeous optics of light.” (Elle)