Read History Laid Bare: Love, Sex & Perversity from the Ancient Etruscans to Warren G. Harding by Richard Zacks Free Online
Book Title: History Laid Bare: Love, Sex & Perversity from the Ancient Etruscans to Warren G. Harding|
The author of the book: Richard Zacks
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 692 KB
Edition: HarperCollins Publishers (NYC)
Date of issue: February 1st 1995
ISBN 13: 9780060925994
Read full description of the books History Laid Bare: Love, Sex & Perversity from the Ancient Etruscans to Warren G. Harding:After finishing Richard Zack's "Island of Vice," I visited his website and saw the description of this book. The website describes History Laid Bare as "Basically, this book is an annotated anthology of authentic, often raunchy sexual anecdotes, gleaned from court records, memoirs, letters…" and frankly, that's all it is.
Although I did largely enjoy Island of Vice for its subject matter and interesting commentary, my biggest critique of that book is that Zacks tends to get very repetitive and boring after a while. While he starts off with terrific content and a great pace, the latter parts of his book tend to become a quagmire of repetitive details that begin to bore the reader. History Laid Bare is no exception.
The strongest part of this book is that it does deal with subject matter rarely dealt with in our general history books or other biographies. He had some very funny and interesting commentary on the Ancient Greeks and Romans, who were very open about their sexuality. Particularly funny was the reference to the ancient Greeks really worshiping great asses on women.. really, there was a Greek temple called Aphrodite Kallipygiea, which meant "Aphrodite of the Great Ass." Some of the other historical documents and references are very amusing. There are also some serious and sad parts, like when he discusses child prostitution in Victorian London.
But just like in Island of Vice, Zacks then gets bogged down in some repetitive details, especially when he's discussing the 18th and 19th centuries. He spends a lot of time talking about how people enjoyed being flogged during that era, and there were some long and very repetitive accounts of Victorian scholars talking about how they enjoyed getting spanked in their school days. It dragged out a little too long in these parts.
Overall, an amusing, but very sophomoric read. The book is set up just as a collection of quips and references, but never goes into anything deep. Most of it is just reproducing historical letters or referring to old texts that discussed sexuality or had famous people talking about sex. Very little analysis, and a lot of "hey look at this old document, and see how funny it is when Napoleon talks about his wife's genitalia..." sort of appeal. Worth flipping through, but not actually reading through.
Read information about the authorRichard Zacks (1955-?) was born in Savannah, Georgia but grew up in New York City. He was a Classical Greek major at the University of Michigan and studied Arabic in Cairo, Italian in Perugia, and French in the vineyards of France.. After completing Columbia's Graduate School of Journalism, he wrote a syndicated column for four years carried by the NY Daily News, Boston Globe, Dallas Morning News and many others.He keeps a hole-in-the-wall office in Manhattan and lives just outside the city limits in an 1897 stucco house, once used by bootleggers.
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