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A Treasury of Royal Scandals: The Shocking True Stories of History's Wickedest, Weirdest, Most Wanton Kings, Queens, Tsars, Popes, and Emperors
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A Treasury of Royal Scandals: The Shocking True Stories of History's Wickedest, Weirdest, Most Wanton Kings, Queens, Tsars, Popes, and Emperors

3.84  ·  Rating details ·  3,460 Ratings  ·  297 Reviews
From Nero's nagging mother (whom he found especially annoying after taking her as his lover) to Catherine's stable of studs (not of the equine variety), here is a wickedly delightful look at the most scandalous royal doings you never learned about in history class.Gleeful, naughty, sometimes perverted-like so many of the crowned heads themselves-A Treasury of Royal Scandal ...more
Paperback, 324 pages
Published May 1st 2001 by Penguin USA (first published January 1st 2001)
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(showing 1-30)
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Jan 17, 2008 rated it really liked it
Man, I loved this book when I found it. I was like.. 14 or so. And of course, most of these scandals are about sex, gays and drinking. I thought they were the most scandalous things I'd ever heard. I brought these stories to my history teachers to impress them. Some of them let me tell stories from it to enliven a boring class about whatever historical figure we happened to be talking about that day... a significantly edited story that took out most of the good stuff, but nonetheless.

Anyway, thi
Maia B.
May 11, 2011 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: no one, really - unless you LIKE reading about sex and violence for three hundred pages
This book, which is shelved in the "History" section of my library, would be better off in "Historical Fiction." Michael Farquhar writes things about Elizabeth 1 which I KNOW to be false, and he does it in a nasty "I'm-better-than-you" way which really jarred with me. He tries to tone some things down to a "readabl" level - he repeatedly says that people are "dating" - in the fifteenth century! I'm all for making history more accessible and easier to read about, but this is ridiculous. People di ...more
To sum up this book quickly: it's good potty reading. In the forward Farquhar explains that he avoids the entire 20th century (with the exception of a few stories about Wallis Simpson). He basically points out that the "scandals" of the 20th century are nothing compared to let's say ordering a small cache of boys to swim naked with you, so they can nip at the treat between your legs. Marrying a divorcee just seems milquetoast in comparison.

Anyhow, it was an enjoyable read. Sad at times, sometime
Jan 21, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2000s
I read this one years ago, in just about the perfect setting for reading anything: while riding trains in Scotland. Well, I guess some of it was on planes, and probably some in hotels and hostels. Anyway, I can't separate the book completely with the fact that it was one of the two books I read while in Scotland. (The other one was a Wheel of Time book.)

This was the most entertaining book of history I've ever read, full of bizarre and fascinating stories about royalty that really go to show why
Catherine Wetzel
Jun 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Great reading of sorted past of royals throughout history, along with popes. On started I could not put it down
Dec 05, 2010 rated it really liked it
What an intriguing read this turned out to be. Sometime last year while I was going to college I skipped a day (one of many days when I skipped) and I went to Goodwill on a Friday for their weekly 50% off sale to see if I could score any good reads and I found this one on the top shelf.

Unfortunately I'm still trying to figure out why it took me over a year to read it, I mean I love the cover, the title and the summary both hold promises of a delightful read but no. I picked it up many times with
Paul Pessolano
Apr 29, 2015 rated it really liked it
“ A Treasury of Royal Scandals, The Shocking True Stories of History’s Wickedest, Weirdest, Most Wanton Kings, Queens, Tsars’, Popes, and Emperors” by Michael Farquhar, published by Penguin Books.

Category – History/Scandals Publication Date – May 01, 2001

If one is looking for some history that is part comedy, part tragedy, and part stupid this book will fit any and all of those categories. Most of these stories you definitely did not study in high school and probably not in college. These true s
Nov 05, 2015 rated it it was ok
If you're a fan or student of history with any former knowledge of the subject as it pertains to the world's royal ruling classes, this book will not teach you much beyond what you already know. Farquhar's book provides snippets of information and nothing more (some chapters are literally a few paragraphs in length). At times, Farquhar writing style has him sounding like a court gossip, even when he's accurate about the facts he's portraying. At other times, sections come across as overly dramat ...more
Feb 06, 2009 rated it liked it
I enjoyed thumbing through this. My undergraduate degree (the first one, before I back to school to go into health care) was in history. I was bitten by the history bug thanks to authors like Eleanor Alice Burford Hibbert (who you may also know as Jean Plaidy, Victoria Holt and Phillipa Carr) and a marvelous history teacher named Martha Morgan my junior year of high school. She used to lean back against her desk, close her eyes, and tell us stories (some of which appear in this book) about histo ...more
Mar 21, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, royalty
I read similar books by Leslie Carroll: "Royal Affairs" and "Notorious Royal Marriages" so I'll compare them. Carroll seems to dedicate a bit more time to each individual so there is more of a "get to know you" feel. Farquhar tends to split up certain information about the same royal (for example, George IV's obesity was discussed in a completely different chapter to that of his marriage). As a result, it can be difficult to get the full picture of the individual if you're not good with names. E ...more
Jen Warren
Mar 18, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites
If History class had been this entertaining, I wouldn't have avoided the subject throughout my academic career.

A Treasury of Royal Scandals reads like an historical tabloid magazine. Which queen had six fingers on one hand? Which Emperor castrated a young boy in order to marry him? Which Pope ordered the annihilation of an entire city?

Broken into sections with several small, individual tales, it was at first tempting to read this as I would a reference book: by skimming the table of contents, an
Apr 11, 2010 rated it liked it
While there are some really interesting bits in this book, one particular section leaves me with a bad taste in my mouth: The Roman emperors. Sure it's titillating to read about how Tiberius kept young boys stocked by his pool for unusual purposes, or how Nero liked to dress up as an animal to 'attack' his lovers, but it's not accurate. Farquhar's source for these is Suetonius, who I must liken to the Daily Mail or National Enquirer of the ancient world. He wrote and sold scandal, hundreds of ye ...more
Feb 04, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: history
the first three quarters of the book, gossips about treachery, envy, out of control sex, and treasons. Ah, and some History of european kings, queens, dukes, etc. The last quarter, hard to read, is about the bloody roman emperors and christian popes, that is too much violence, guys greedy for power, and more violence, plus some pages with the violence of the french revolution and the russians killing the Romanovs.

This is a very disorganized book, mixing facts of one period and jumping to anothe
Kristin Vaskie
Sep 16, 2014 rated it liked it
There are some very interesting histories in this book, but I do feel like it is aimed more towards high school students than real lovers of historical volumes. The chapters are easy to read and some of them seem a little too short and don't give the reader a full understanding of whom the chapter is focused on. I also could have done without the pope section, there were a few good tidbits here and there but mostly forgettable. I did enjoy the book, though, it had good stories about several mona ...more
Dec 25, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you're a history buff (like me) there's not a lot in this book that you will find new and intriguing. Nevertheless, it's a quick look at all sorts of royal nonsense and depravities if you are in that kind of mood. There were a few stories that I wasn't particularly familiar with and this book has me interested in knowing more. In my mind, a book that piques your interest and inspires additional research is always worth reading.

Keep in mind that this is NOT written in the style and jargon of
Jun 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing
If you ever wanted to read about scandals about royalty and even some Popes...this is definitely an amusing read.

Some tales that are told are well known, others, not quite so well known. I personally love the story of Joanna the Mad and her obsession with her husband. If you want something to not get bogged down in and give you some laughs or head shaking, this is definitely up your alley!
Sep 03, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: History Lovers that want the coldd, hard truth
Some want to believe the world has become a more dangerous and less moral place. This book proves my point that humans have always had a dark, corrupt, and sometimes cruel side. The powerful and/or wealth ones are more watched and recorded than those without.
Amanda pepos
Apr 28, 2008 rated it really liked it
i really enjoyed this one. its chalkfull of crazy stories about the royalty of the world, some of it very sad however. a bit confusing if you dont understand say the english line to the throne, but thouroughly enjoyable, i would read it again.
Jan 04, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history-misc
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 21, 2011 rated it liked it
Very interesting. It's a great book to pick-up for short periods. The best non-fiction read I've in a long time. Entertaining.
May 25, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I loved this. Great bathroom reading.
May 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
Although at first I thought I would find myself really interested in this book, the structure of it had me a little annoyed at times. I wish it had combined all the tales of one ruler together instead of piecing them apart. Flipping back and forth to piece an image together of a single person, or to remind me of that person was becoming tedious. The little tidbits themselves were okay, I really would have loved more elaboration or more facts. Or points being noted for pieces of information that ...more
Sandra Swartz
Jun 10, 2017 rated it liked it
Parts of it were dry, but what do you expect, it's history. Since I generally find history to be boring, I was excited to read about the more interesting behind-the-scenes facets of it.
Jul 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is fun and well written. Several sources are highlighted, though less than I would like.
May 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2017, comedy, historical
Entertaining, funny and informative. I learned and laughed and shook my head in awe at these stories. I definitely want to check out the others in this series.
Mar 17, 2017 rated it liked it
Debjit Sengupta
Sep 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing
The book authored by Micheal Farquhar keeps appearing at regular interval in recommended reading list. This even though, there are hardly reviews written by anybody from my country. Still there was an element of something alluring or intriguing that drew me towards his writing. I then found that he has a committed fan following outside my country. At least, innumerable number of reviews confirms that. Most appreciated his uncanny knack of presenting historical facts, combining with humour. Despi ...more
Feb 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
A hilarious, educational adventure through royal history! Loved it! Planning to read this authors other books.
Apr 24, 2009 rated it really liked it
Actual rating: 3 1/2 stars

This book proves that there really is no new thing under the sun, and that the royalty and religious leaders of the current times have on their historical counterparts when it comes to lewd, lascivious and downright cruel behavior. I'd always known about the horrendous tortures that took place in the past, but even I managed to be shocked by just how hideous the level of cruelty really could be while reading this book.

The book features a series of short snippets concern
Nov 07, 2008 rated it it was ok
In summary, I'd compare these tales to a record collection arranged by the color of the dust jacket and the musical key of the first track on the B-side. Well rounded, yet the only "Rock and Roll" albums are singles by one-hit-wonders who were on the charts for less than a week.

This is a "bathroom reader" in that I found it difficult to read in long sessions without becoming bored. I think that my malaise was due to the categorization of the stories.

In his collection, the author combines tales
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Michael Farquhar, a former writer and editor at The Washington Post, is the bestselling author of numerous books, including the critically acclaimed Behind the Palace Doors and Secret Lives of the Tsars, as well as the popular Penguin "Treasury" series: A Treasury of Royal Scandals, A Treasury of Great American Scandals, A Treasury of Deception, and A Treasury of Foolishly Forgotten Americans. He ...more
More about Michael Farquhar...

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