Nifty Nonfiction: Dreadlocks and Deliveries
Two books on elements of everyday life that I found interesting. The narration had a friendly, conversational flow, which also contained amusing anecdotes and historical references. Some years ago, I realized that hair is part of certain people’s identity as I listened to my sister talking about hers, which she’s always worn long. Once airplanes were invented, quite a bit of time and money was invested in attempting to make them a viable transport device, but for the longest time, the railroads were the most organized way of shipping mail. In the mid-twentieth century, things started to go wrong. At their peak, there were cars where the mail was actually postmarked and sorted and pick up and drop offs were scheduled at tiny stations where the trains would stop for mere minutes for the exchange. For years, they had sorting machines that could not read hand-written addresses and later an early computer system that proved a useless waste of money. The famed Pony Express only lasted about 19 months and was extremely expensive, with a half ounce letter costing $5 to send. At first, I wasn’t sure why I’d decided to read this account of a black university professor trying to grow dreadlocks, but as he delved into the history and sociological aspects of that hairstyle, I became intrigued. Up until that part, I had enjoyed the book, but the end was disappointing. The challenge of meeting the postal demands of a growing country led to all sorts of innovations and some which were not successful. While these issues needed to be included in the history, the author spent too long on them, bogged down in endless names and dull details, which was a very different style than the earlier parts of the book. I was startled to learn that companies such as Wells Fargo and American Express, which today are financial institutions, began as alternatives to the Post Office. Agate Bolden 2015 250 pp. It was interesting seeing the responses from people in his life and getting a glimpse into the salon culture. I was happy to see the author photo at the end where his dreadlocks were quite long, showing that his patience had paid off and he’d successfully met his goal. ISBN-13: 978-0802124586
Share this:TwitterFacebookPinterestEmailPrintGoogleLike this:Like Loading… Postal Service that begins and ends with a man who travels around the country trying to see as many post offices as possible. Related These technical issues coincided with strikes and other personnel problems. Even though it takes longer, the author goes the authentic route and I found myself cheering his progress. Evidently, there’s an authentic way of creating dreadlocks and an opposite path with lots of shortcuts. So far, he has seen about 2,000. Twisted by Bert Ashe
This is a memoir about hair. The first three-fourths of the book is the most intriguing, beginning with Benjamin Franklin’s seamless conversion of the colonies’ mail service to supervising it for the fledgling United States. ISBN-13: 978-1932841961
Neither Snow Nor Rain by Devin Leonard
A very readable history of the U.S. As a person who has had short hair all my life, because I “don’t want to fool with it” as they say, I do understand that for some people hair is more important. And of course, hair, like clothes, is always about more than hair and clothes. Delayed or botched technical advancements slowed delivery. Grove Press 2016 288 pp.