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

A Treasury of Royal Scandals by Michael Farquhar
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's review
Aug 21, 2008

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bookshelves: history

Farquhar, Michael. A TREASURY OF ROYAL SCANDALS: The Shocking True Stories of History’s Wickedest, Most Wanton Kings, Queens, Tsars, Popes, and Emperors. (2001). ***. This book reminds me of when I was in high school and someone had gotten hold of the Olympia Press edition of Henry Miller’s ‘Tropic of Cancer.’ All the nasty bits were easy to find because you could just flip to the dog-eared pages. This book is like that, except that you don’t have to dog-ear the pages. The author (if there really is a person with a name like that) has managed to cull the pages of many books of history and pick out all the juicy bits that fit into his theme. The subjects range from Tiberius (see Suetonius) to Pope John XXIII. Unfortunately, all you get are the snippets of the juicy parts, with little understanding of most of the major character’s surroundings. I guess the author expects that now, having the juicy bits under out belts, we will seriously peruse his bibliography and seek out more learned texts to fill out our knowledge of the various misfits he has described in a few pages each. Maybe. There are some helpful sections, though. He gives the trees of the various houses of Europe and Russia, with all of their interesting branches. He also provides a timeline of history that places each of his subjects within the context of history and provides one or two sentences about what else might have been going on in the world at the same time. There’s nothing new here, but this might be a useful bathroom book. It would also have been nice if the author had laid out his subjects in some kind of chronological order, too, rather than hopscotching around in time and place. Oh, well.

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