Sullivan, James 1965-

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Sullivan, James 1965-


Born November 7, 1965; children: three.


Home—Boston, MA.


Freelance writer. San Francisco Chronicle, San Francisco, CA, former columnist.


Jeans: A Cultural History of an American Icon, Gotham Books (New York, NY), 2006.

Contributor to periodicals, including the Boston Globe, San Francisco Chronicle, and Rolling Stone.


James Sullivan spent seven years as a columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle, where he primarily covered pop and consumer culture. It was while working at that job that he became interested in writing a book about the history of denim, and of blue jeans, which he considers to be the classically American item of clothing. In an interview for WWD, Sullivan told Lauren DeCarlo: "The idea had been done before, but it had only been done in coffee table-type books where the text and history was secondary." The result was Sullivan's book, Jeans: A Cultural History of an American Icon. In his book, Sullivan traces 150 years of history, and discusses everything from inexpensive and sturdy work pants, to the deteriorating and decorated jeans of the flower children, to the high fashion jeans of the wealthy, and looks at some of the major manufacturers in the industry. A contributor for Kirkus Reviews called the book "an entertaining and informative history of an unlikely subject." However, John Dicker, in a review for the Austin Chronicle, stated: "The story lacks anything resembling urgency, depending more on the author's hyperbole. Yes, jeans are iconically American, but however many ways this is restated, it does nothing to quell the question of … so what?" Nonetheless, Christina Eng, writing for the San Francisco Chronicle, dubbed it a "good read, a compelling book on what has undoubtedly become a timeless American classic."



Booklist, May 15, 2006, Barbara Jacobs, review of Jeans: A Cultural History of an American Icon, p. 8.

Kirkus Reviews, May 1, 2006, review of Jeans, p. 450.

Library Journal, June 1, 2006, Jennifer Zarr, review of Jeans, p. 139.

Publishers Weekly, May 29, 2006, review of Jeans, p. 51.

WWD, May 11, 2006, Lauren DeCarlo, "Gauging the Cultural Impact of Denim," p. 10.


Austin Chronicle Online, (November 24, 2006), John Dicker, review of Jeans.

Boston Globe Online, (August 31, 2006), John Dicker, "The History of Jeans Has a Few Rough Patches."

New York Times Book Review Online, (August 8, 2006), Michiko Kakutani, "Jeans Now Need Their Own Specialist Scholars: Call it Jeanetics"; (August 20, 2006), Caroline Weber, "Me and My Calvins."

News & Observer, (August 28, 2006), Samantha Thompson Smith, "Talkin' about My Jean-eration: Denim Continually Reinvents Itself."

psychoPEDIA Online, (December 31, 2006), "Denim Road Test: Prps Jeanealogist James Sullivan Makes His Case."

St. Petersburg Times, (August 27, 2006), Caroline Weber, "A Nation Revealed in Faded Blue."

San Francisco Chronicle Online, (August 20, 2006), Christina Eng, "How Workman's Pants Transformed America: Jeans Influenced Fashion, Advertising, Pop Culture, as well as the Economy."

Washington Post Online, (August 8, 2006), Jonathan Yardley, "Painting Prose," review of Jeans.

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Sullivan, James 1965-

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