First off, this book is beautiful. Each chapter deals with the history of varying hues within a color family, and each page is bordered by that color. This is helpful not only for context and avoids bogging the reader down with descriptions of exactly where magenta falls on a scale of fuchsia to pink, but also just LOOKS really cool. From a purely aesthetic standpoint, the book looks great.
The premise was enough to hook me easily as well; the histories of specific shades of color? Yes please. I loved a similar book on the science of flavor reviewed for CBR 9, and social histories of the commonplace are kinda my jam.
I just wish there was more about how shades came into vogue through history and less about the mixing of paints. I get that color is naturally going to have a lot to do with pigment, but I wanted more like the dishy bit on puce, and how it was named derisively for Marie Antoinette’s favored gown being the color of a flea, and less about the reduction of lead pigments.
Also, the author seemed to stretch for connections in some of her anecdotes, quoting luminaries simply to use the quote rather than for any tie to that hue’s history. It smacks a bit of my lazier papers in high school, and is particularly noticeable when each color gets two pages. A little more thorough and this book would’ve been perfect.