Combing Through the White House

Hair and Its Shocking Impact on the Politics, Private Lives, and Legacies of the Presidents

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Pub Date 20 Aug 2024 | Archive Date 10 Sep 2024

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Discover a fascinating and novel look at the U.S. presidents, the first families, and American history—all through the lens of hair. With meticulous detail, engaging storytelling, and full-color visuals, encyclopedia editor Theodore Pappas combs through American history, teasing out long-forgotten and little-known ways that hair has influenced the presidency and the public and private lives, personal scandals, and tragedies of the men and women who have occupied the White House.

Go deep into the history of such topics as:

  • Abraham Lincoln's famously ridiculed appearance and the surprising role hair played in both his presidency and assassination
  • John F. Kennedy's connection to James Bond and how hair factored into his vast image-making and infidelities
  • The lush tradition of collecting hair as a way of honoring leaders, remembering our loved ones, and preserving their memories
  • Scientific hair analysis and how DNA has been used to solve long-standing presidential mysteries
  • The connection of hair to the lives, loves, scandals, and tragedies that shaped presidents, first ladies, and the nation at large


This unique window into the past shines entertaining new light on the decisions, relationships, and tragedies that have shaped the role of the president and the place of the U.S. in the world. Whether you're interested in presidential trivia or historical mysteries, Combing Through the White House personalizes the past through an element of life we can all relate to—hair—giving us new glimpses into our country and even ourselves.

Discover a fascinating and novel look at the U.S. presidents, the first families, and American history—all through the lens of hair. With meticulous detail, engaging storytelling, and full-color...

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ISBN 9781400246151
PRICE $24.99 (USD)

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Featured Reviews

"And now," as the Monty Python crawl would roll out, "for something completely different. . . ." is the read Combing Through the White House: Hair and its Shocking Impact on the Politics, Private Lives, and Legacies of the Presidents . A fascinating book for those, like myself, obsessed with that fluffy stuff and all the ways to dress it: HAIR ! ; and, a within a bonus filtered category - Hair in History. And to drill down even further - Hair in American Presidential History. Ahh. Can't pass that up!

The author, Theodore Pappas, has done his research! Six thorough chapters cover hair in ways you have not even considered, and in ways you probably have (but this will take you deeper in):

The “Body Politic” of a President
Hair and the Life and Death of Abraham Lincoln

Locks and Presidential Legacies
The Long, Lush History of Collecting Hair

Politics, Diplomacy, and Family Life
Hair’s Mighty Impact, at Home and Abroad

Hair, Image, and Infidelities
The Case of John F. Kennedy

Parallel Tragedies
The Pierces, the Bushes, and the Death of a Child

Follicle Forensics
Solving Presidential Mysteries Through Science and DNA

These cover assassinations, deaths, affairs, non-affairs, family tragedies, wives, partners, stand-ins, fancy Dos, mullets, who was the dreamboat president (you'll be surprised), who was dug up to find out if murder'd been done, who got caught by DNA (more than you think), and who cared about their Do, and who just gave a head toss and greeted the public. Politics are mentioned, and controversies or scandals are not shied away from, but they are not the focus, folks - this is a book about Hair. on. the. Body. Politic. !!

This is a book you'll want to see - ebook or physical - because of all the nifty pictures - they support and expand the author's focus in each section. An audio version would lose an important element of what makes this such an entertaining read.

I'm thinking this will be a perfect gift for my political friends and family. Oh! and all the "hair" managers I know and love. (Get ready, Carol. You are gonna love this!)

*A sincere thank you to Theodore Pappas, Harper Celebrate, and NetGalley for an ARC to read and independently review.* #CombingThroughtheWhiteHouse #NetGalley

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Wow, what a truly unique perspective! Exploring the inner workings of power within the White House through the lens of hair is both fascinating and unexpected. I was completely engrossed in this book—it's brimming with captivating insights and quirky anecdotes that shed light on a surprisingly polarizing topic: presidential hairstyles!

Before I delved into this gem, I never realized the extent to which hair influenced the political landscape throughout history. And let's be honest, who could forget those memorable images of President Trump and his distinctive hairstyle? From George Washington's iconic wigs to Trump’s well-known coif, this book delves deeply into the personal stories and public personas of past presidents, providing a fresh and entertaining perspective on American history. From clandestine styling sessions to the intense scrutiny of the public eye, the journey through these pages is both enlightening and delightful.

In summary, I thoroughly enjoyed this book—it's essential reading for anyone intrigued by presidential history and their unique characteristics. A hearty congratulations to Theodore Pappas for crafting such an engaging and informative piece of work!

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