The Secret Language of Color: Science, Nature, History, Culture, Beauty of Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue & Violet

Joann Eckstut and Arielle Eckstut. Black Dog & Leventhal (Workman, dist.), $29.95 (240p) ISBN 978-1-57912-949-1
Where does the phrase “blue blood” come from? Why do most doctors wear green scrubs? These and other questions are answered in the Eckstut’s fascinating study of color. After throwing readers into the deep end with scientific explanations about how our brains process information and declarations like “wavelengths of light do not exist as color until we see them,” the authors move on to more accessible and lively examinations of colors and the roles they’ve played in history as well as evolution. Each hue gets a biography of sorts, as the authors examine its cultural (the Egyptians placed a high value on blue and it was one of the first synthetic pigments) and in some cases biological significance (different colors attract different animals). The science behind rainbows and why they never appear the same way to two people; why the grass is always greener across the street (you’re not seeing the imperfections); and a litany of other color-related trivia round out the book. The book’s dynamic design and short entries make it easy to skim, but it’s likely that those intending just a casual perusal will find themselves engrossed by this terrifically entertaining and informative volume. Illus. Agent: Jim Levine, Levine Greenberg Literary Agency. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 08/12/2013
Release date: 10/01/2013
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