Be they cosmetic, mystical or memorial in nature, tattoos are a human practice that possibly predates cave paintings. This volume, one of four in Rosen's series Tattooing, deals with a slightly edgy topic with student appeal, presenting its objective and neutral treatment at a reading level accessible for most teens. The factual information is well-organized, beginning with the historical roots of tattooing amongst Polynesians, Japanese, Native Americans and ancient Russians. The text is not dense, but it is very informative and lavishly illustrated, as befits the topic. A chapter on famous artists stresses the art school credentials of today's most successful "ink slingers." In the chapter on design, the book goes beyond Celtic and tribal motifs to present typographic tattoos and "biomechanical" designs which, in tromp l'oeil manner, appear to expose portions of the body structure. Less permanent methods of body decoration are also presented in the text, including the process of temporary stencil using henna known as mendhi and the effect of tattoo art on modern fashion, particularly the Ed Hardy lines. Levy handily illustrates the effects of the Industrial Revolution in discussing how mechanized tattoo guns and mass-produced stenciled designs democratized what had been a rarified and bespoke art form popular among royalty. The stigma left by the proliferation of tattoos as a result of mechanization began reversing as a result of the counterculture movements of the 1960's, Levy asserts. She pushes beyond history to investigate the phenomenon of tattooing in modern society. She introduces psychological factors that might play into the decision to modify one's body, including issues surrounding individuality, control and permanence. From an eye on gender trends in tattooing, "upper-middle class white suburban women make up the fastest-growing portion of the tattoo market" p.32, to a discussion of the ancient practice of tattooing along acupuncture points, the result is an accessible book for general interest reading or research alike. The laundry list of tattooed celebrities will date more quickly than its historical content. Includes a two-page subject glossary, a list of organizations and books for further reading.