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History Laid Bare [Paperback]

Richard Zacks


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Book Description

Jan. 12 1995
A large number of famous artists, writers, philosophers, statesmen, scientists, and even saints recorded their thoughts about sex in diary entries, memoirs, love letters, poems and jokes. In History Laid Bare, Zacks unearths scores of these intimate writings. The result is a provocative, engaging and funny look at a rarely seen side of history.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial; Reprint edition (Jan. 12 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 006092599X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060925994
  • Product Dimensions: 18.3 x 13.2 x 3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 431 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #860,468 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From Amazon

A book that illuminates the underbelly of history, telling you about everything that your history teacher never did. From Cleopatra's seduction of Marc Antony to Leonardo DaVinci's dirty jokes, from the virginity tests of Joan of Arc to Toulouse Lautrec's admiration of redheads, Zacks digs up the dirt on the celebrities of yesteryear.

From Library Journal

According to columnist and investigative reporter Zacks ( The Atlantic Monthly , Time , and more), human sexuality has been stripped from our history books by overzealous Victorians and prudish scholars. Thus, we have been spared exposure to Mark Twain's eloquent diatribe against masturbation or medieval German priest Burchard's catalog of 200 different sexual sins and their punishments dating back to 1012. Attempting to amuse, enlighten, and fill in the gaps, Zacks compiles a collection of revealing stories, fragments, and vignettes culled from the letters, court cases, doctor's reports, travel notebooks, diaries, and texts of the famous and not-so-famous. When placed end to end, these accounts create an anecdotal time line of human sexuality. However, the quality level of the entries is inconsistent and, given their fragmentary nature, devoid of historical context. Despite its few eyebrow-raising entries, this title is not recommended.
- David R. Johnson, Louisiana State Univ. Lib., Eunice
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars  11 reviews
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Keep a spare copy of this one just in case Dec 27 2004
By S. D. Clemett - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is a book likely to be stolen from your coffee table for its delicious romp through the back rooms of history. It's full of bawdy stories and poetry about history's most notorious figures written (mostly) during their lifetimes. You will laugh out loud at the verse about Julius Caesar's promiscuity and the size of King Charles II's "royal sceptre", the humorous epigrams of the great Roman satirists, the wit of Mark Twain, and the sexual superstitions of the past. It more than fills the void left by PLAYBOY when it ended the Classic Ribaldry section years ago because many of the entries are about real people whose names you've heard in history lessons since you were a child. My only complaint about this book is that it isn't longer with even more stories about Napoleon, Thomas Jefferson, and everyone else who seems larger than life. This book adds to their humanity.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars History no one knows much about Dec 5 1996
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I found this book to be very humorous and quite amusing. As it said in the prologue, this is the kind of history that adds life and color to the old, cold marble statues that litter antiquity. I've always been very interested in history, but with traditional textbooks, one is often at a loss to explain what many people used to do for fun or even how they propigated themselves. This book holds all the answers to those pressing questions and presents them in a readable format that would hold the attention of even the most burned-out-on-history student
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating Facts That Our History Teacher Never Mentioned March 31 1998
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
In this book Zacks has compiled an extensive collection of facts about how Sex played a major role in history. The more I read, the more amazed I was at how history is cleansed of these realities before we are taught it in school. This book has made me hungry to dig up other books that fill in the blanks in my knowledge of the past.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A fun and frisky romp through the bedrooms of yesteryear. Jan. 10 1997
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
It seemed to me that history classes took all the life out
out of the past leaving a shell of battle dates and wars.
I never really cared about that. This book puts back what
history teachers (and time) took out: The Smut!

This book is an easy read as it has a lot of humor served in
doses of one to two paragraphs. The subject is not wartime
strategies...well, not on the battlefield. Cleopatra's
seduction of Marc Anthony was better planned than most
military skirmishes, and was far more successful with only
one moonstruck casualty.

I would recommend this book for anyone who loves history,
and even for those that found it tedious in school. It is
essentually a fun and frisky romp through the bedrooms of
yesteryear.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Funny, informative, and deeply researched book Sept. 21 1996
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Like his writing, Zacks is in a class by himself.
The product of a classical education,
he draws his information from primary sources, the more
graphic and humorous the better. His lascivious mind
frames each citation into its erotic best. His translations
are modern but true to their sources.

What a fun book! Too bad you can't put it on your
coffee table.

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