The Roots of Desire

Genetically speaking, redheads are less than 4 percent of the world’s population. This fusion of history, cultural commentary and memoir attempts to explain why such a “negligible” portion of humankind had such a profound historical affect. The list of reds is wide, from Lilith to Jessica Rabbit; from ancient Greek redheads who turned into vampires when they died to Brenda Starr. Why are redheaded men, like Judas Iscariot or Archie in the comics, perceived differently than redheaded women? What does it feel like to stand out in a crowd (unless you’re perusing Tudor portraits in London’s National Gallery or walking down the street in Edinburgh)? And why, more often than not, when you combine feminine and redhead, do you get references to the devil?