A Natural History
University of California Press
On Sale: October 5, 2006
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We expose it, cover it, paint it, tattoo it, scar it, and
pierce it. Our intimate connection with the world, skin
protects us while advertising our health, our identity, and
our individuality. This dazzling synthetic overview, written
with a poetic touch and taking many intriguing side
excursions, is a complete guidebook to the pliable covering
that makes us who we are. Skin: A Natural History celebrates
the evolution of three unique attributes of human skin: its
naked sweatiness, its distinctive sepia rainbow of colors,
and its remarkable range of decorations. Jablonski begins
with a look at skin's structure and functions and then tours
its three-hundred-million-year evolution, delving into such
topics as the importance of touch and how the skin reflects
and affects emotions. She examines the modern human
obsession with age-related changes in skin, especially
wrinkles. She then turns to skin as a canvas for
self-expression, exploring our use of cosmetics, body paint,
tattooing, and scarification. Skin: A Natural History places
the rich cultural canvas of skin within its broader
biological context for the first time, and the result is a
tremendously engaging look at ourselves.
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