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History Of Mistresses Paperback – Feb 26 2004

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History Of Mistresses + History Of Celibacy + History of Marriage
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 510 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial Canada (Feb. 26 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0006385893
  • ISBN-13: 978-0006385899
  • Product Dimensions: 14.3 x 3 x 21.9 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 499 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #284,211 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


'a fascinating account of the other woman through history, more sobering than titillating.' - Sunday Times 'It is not just mistresses, it seems, who need to wake up to the new millennium; one of the surprises of this engrossing book is how mired in myth and fantasy it reveals our attitude to mistresses as being.' Sunday Telegraph '[Abbott] is one of the most respected non-fiction writers in Canada' - The Gazette (Montreal). 'Engaging and full of fun anecdotes and salacious details' - Toronto Star. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

About the Author

Elizabeth Abbott is Dean of Women at Trinity College, University of Toronto, where she also teaches a social science course.An historian with a doctorate in 19th-century history, she has worked for over a decade as a journalist and writer with a special interest in social history and the environment.She was editor-in-chief of Chronicle of Canada, the bestselling illustrated history of Canada and the author of Haiti: The Duvaliers and their Legacy.She is a book reviewer for The Globe and Mail and The Gazette (Montreal).She has written for Harrowsmith, The Next City and Equinox and in 1992 won a National Magazine Award for environmental writing.A History of Celibacy is her most recent book.

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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Leah Jesse on May 13 2007
Format: Paperback
A History of Mistresses by Elizabeth Abbott is a sweeping social history of mistresses from Ancient times to Modern Days. The book contains thirteen chapters, chronologically and thematically organized, that are subdivided into individual case studies on historically well known mistresses.

The book starts out chronologically in the ancient world with the Biblical mistress Hagar then goes into the Eastern Orient and Persian Harems. The book then has a chapter for European royal mistresses and a separate chapter for European aristocracy. It has chapters for papal consorts and one for mistresses and conquerors. There are chapters based on interracial sexual unions and one chapter I found very interesting about Jewish mistresses in Nazi Germany.

There are also thematically based chapters featuring mistresses as muses, mobster molls, and trophy dolls as well as fictional mistresses in literature. Finally, the author concludes with modern case studies of mistresses after the 1960s and their continued evolution within western culture.

I found that I read this book in sections rather than as a whole, because some parts of the book like the ancient case studies were more interesting to me than others like the modern period. The author has done a wonderful job compiling a ton of information in one tome with extensive end notes, but I found that the book struggled in the last chapter perhaps because modern mistresses may not be as well known or understood as their historical counterparts.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on Aug. 21 2005
Format: Paperback
This book starts out as intriguing and interesting but leaves you feeling empty in the end, as if you learned a little but not too much. It's more of a tease. Perhaps that's what it's like to be a mistress...
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3 reviews
Full of inaccurate information and arbitrary choices Dec 20 2014
By Amazon Customer - Published on
Format: Hardcover
I had such high expectations when I checked out the book. But I was very disappointed by her lack of research, her writing style and arbitrary choices of mistresses. It may be good for casual reading only.
1) Lack of research: an example from the chapter on "Geisha Mistresses." "Unlike 98 percent of Japanese women, geishas never marry." I just have to wonder where the author got this figure, 98% from (which is grossly inaccurate). There are just too many inaccuracies to write down here.
2) Writing style: too much generalization/blankets statements. e.g. Again from the sample chapter as above. "For the Younger Sister, the ultimate geisha goal was to become a rich man's mistress."
3) Arbitrary choices: e.g. I have no idea why the author left out more famous mistresses such as Madame de Montespan and Lady Castlemaine. Nell Gwynn yes? But not Castlemaine? So what criteria did the author use to the "most famous/infamous" mistresses?
OH MY WORD! Sept. 13 2013
By J. McPhee - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book is epic. it raises such an awareness to the ways of men and the women who control them.
1 of 17 people found the following review helpful
Much about Eva Braun is inaccurate June 28 2011
By Thomas Lundmark - Published on
Format: Hardcover
While I enjoyed perusing this well written book, I cannot give it 5 stars because much of what the author writes about Eva Braun is not accurate. For a better account of the relationship between Eva Braun and Adolf Hitler, see my new, authoritative biography "The Untold Story of Eva Braun: Her Life beyond Hitler"

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