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Mental Floss Presents Forbidden Knowledge: A Wickedly Smart Guide to History's Naughtiest Bits (Mental Floss Presents)
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Mental Floss Presents Forbidden Knowledge: A Wickedly Smart Guide to History's Naughtiest Bits (Mental Floss Presents)

3.94 of 5 stars 3.94  ·  rating details  ·  602 ratings  ·  38 reviews
Think of anything bad, from art heists to Genghis Kahn, and it's likely to be included in this wickedly smart and humorous guide to the seedy underbelly of basically everything. The brainiac team at "mental_floss", creators of the hit magazine and last year's Condensed Knowledge, have scoured the darkest, dirtiest corners of history and the globe to gather this ultimate co ...more
Paperback, 320 pages
Published November 1st 2005 by William Morrow Paperbacks
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Community Reviews

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This has some serious factual errors in it. I mean, really basic stuff -- I'm sorry, guys, but pepper was NOT used to mask the taste of spoiled food. Ugh. I gave up about 10% of the way through, during the incredibly inaccurate section on Christopher Columbus.
Jonathan Lu
As a sometimes reader of their magazine, figured I would be interested to pick this one up to learn some more random facts for my useless array of interesting info. Book began pretty blas... dictators have weird mustaches and clothing, bands require weird demands for their contracts but not that witty or entertaining. Here's one I'll be sure to google... article published by Alan Sokal - "transgressing the boundaries: toward a transformative hermeneutics of quantum physics", which he wrote in or ...more
It's an entertaining read, especially if you only have a few minutes here and there to do some reading. As with any book of this nature, if you know something about a subject before reading the book and they offer a different explanation you wonder about the accuracy of the rest of the information.

I've read in other places that the Spanish Flu started in America, not China, and the reason it was called the Spanish Flu was because their newspapers openly acknowledged it and the devastation it wa
Ben Kline
Fun easy little 'trivia' book to read. Sound facts, though there is no citations (but mental_floss is a pretty good accredited source, so there might be only small trivial issues), it's easy to read, and light, basically a bathroom book. Broken down into the 7 deadly sins, it ranges the gambit from tiny and trivial interesting facts to large facts that we don't know (but probably should) to things like you know X but it's really Y. Overall fun book.
entertaining factoids.
Abraham Ray
Apr 30, 2015 Abraham Ray rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: trivia nuts
Shelves: trivia, young-adult
nice book of weird lists for young adults!
Sandra Strange
This miscellany of historical topics covers R rated bits such as monarchs' sexual proclivities to national inferiority complexes and the wars they caused. The varied historical topics are organized according to the Medieval church's Seven Deadly Sins (Lust being one, thus the sexual stuff). It's all historical and tastefully presented, very informative and quite entertaining (but R rated just by its topics, but only in places, well labeled and easily skipped).
Another fun book from the folks at Mental Floss that want you to have fun while learning "new stuff". This time they take the theme of the Seven Deadly Sins and fill you in on the secrets of the world and people you may or may not have heard of.

History like this ignores the importance of dates and dead people, but this is Mozart once you have mastered the scales. Have fun.
This is an awesome book for trivia junkies who love to pull out shockers at opportune times. It's split up in sections by topic (Lust, Greed, etc.), and each little portion is only 3-6 snippets. It's PERFECT for pre-slumber reading, where you want to get a little bit in, but prefer something not too heavy, that your half-asleep brain will be able to digest. I recommend!
Bite sized lists of historical information are presented within the confines of the seven deadly sins.

A fun trivia book, even if the connections of the lists to the sins were sometimes extremely tenuous. I read this on the Kindle, so I'm not sure if the oddly inserted sidebars are a fault of the book or the conversion to digital format.
This is one of those random facts books that is fun to kinda doodle through in the bathroom or while waiting for a bus or something. I don't think it's particularly significant, in the sense that you don't really LEARN anything, but it's an entertaining little fillip--and actually list books are quite addictive.
Blurbs of history. Broken up by the Seven Deadly Sins. Interesting, but only a few paragraphs are written about each topic. Glossed over some of the topics. Definitely interesting for someone who wants "just the facts." Definitely loaded with trivia. Liked the Pride and Sloth sections best.
This is a really funny book that has alot of great information and trivia questions. The cover of the book made me notice it, but whats inside got me hooked. I use this for parties and fun events to create games and fun times.

Answer Blip Trivia Team
Unfortunately the dedication "Mental Floss would like to thank the Devil for making a book about sins possible....and Voledemort. It's your inspiration that truly fills this book" was the wittiest most well written part of this book. Look for intelligent historical satire elsewhere
This is a fun, lighter-than-air compendium of historical anecdotes, told in Mental Floss's signature pun-filled, mildly-snarky style. I'm a sucker for lists, especially lists of short, summary-style tidbits about bizarre stuff from history. So naturally, I enjoyed this immensely.
This is an entertaining collection of irreverent (and "naughty," as the cover claims) bits of history, easily digestible in small chunks and perfect for sampling over the lunch hour.
I love trivia and it's my secret dream to go on Jeopardy someday, so this book was fascinating to me. However, I don't think that I would refer to all of these entries as "wicked." In fact, there were many where I didn't see the link to the chapter heading.
Tyler Bruns
Who doesn't like cool facts?
Mental_Floss is awesome and I wonder how I didn't know about it until a year or so ago. A lot of these lists have appeared on the website (and kept me entertained over many a slow work day).
Mental Floss books are always fun, sarcastic and irreverent and yet informative. I like the tidbits of information style, but it's probably best for reading smaller stretches at a time.
I registered a book at!
I live books of list and random trivia. This was agreat book to relax with the few minutes before I go to sleep at night.
Ky Matthes
What's not to love? I would have preferred a few less facts on the Greeks gods, but that's just me.Great book!
Ash Crowe
The format of the book is more than a little repetitive but it still contains many interesting bits of trivia.
Jul 31, 2015 Mike rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: light
An excellent book for what it is. Short (three to four paragraph) entires about history, science, and pop culture.
Loved it, except for the "Lust" section. Skip that if you're going to check this book out.
Not sure how accurate all if this is, but an entertaining coffee table read nonetheless.
Entertaining read, however I love their blog more than the books.
Brent Derry
This book was cool.. I used to own it, and now I miss it.
I love random trivia and this is a cornucopia of facts.
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“On the list of european royalty's leisure activities, "overrunning Poland" has historically been a close second to "sex".” 3 likes
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