Book Review — Hood

Hood by Alison Kinney

Hood by Alison Kinney is a look at a common feature of clothing throughout history and legend. Kinney is a writer based in New York. Her work has appeared in The Hairpin, The Literary Review, and Gastronomica.

Since moving to Texas, I look forward to fall. It’s the short time of year where I can wear a hoodie. As a kid in Cleveland through the 1970s, a hoodie was part of everyday clothing. Worn alone in the fall or under a denim jacket and down vest. It was that universal comfort clothing. Today it carries the stigma of a street punk, probable cause, or “hood.”

In current culture, we see the Grim Reaper wearing a hood. Hood wearing characters also include Father Time and the executioner. Kinney examines these characters using historical sources for Death and the executioner. The result is not what the average reader would expect. The hood becomes more interesting when it comes to the executioner and capital punishment.

A short history of the hooded Klan is given and the evolution of the well-known white costume and hood. The hood still carries its stigma of racism with businesses in communities banning hoodies in their establishments. Business cannot ban minorities, but they can ban the clothing worn many minorities.

Hood is a short book with a sizeable portion devoted to cited works. It still presents more history than expected on a simple piece of clothing. Hood also manages to explain away some of the urban legends of its long history going back to the ancient Greeks. A very educational and well-written study.


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