Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Napoleon's Privates - Tony Perrottet

Napoleon's Privates: 2,500 Years of History Unzipped - Tony Perrottet - 256 pages

So, I saw this on the shelf while I was out putting some things away, and it caught my eye.  Don't pretend you're not curious, too!

This one's basically a collection of anecdotes about sexual exploits and devious historical figures through history.  Featured, as the title suggests, is Napoleon, with anchor chapters ranging from evidence that suggests cryptorchidism all the way to his autopsy and the removal and safekeeping of his...canape?  Many other historical figures make appearances along the way, including Hitler, Cleopatra, and JFK, and some other interesting topics are touched on, such as the history of the castrato, the Victorian era's issues with sexuality in general, and for some reason I'm still not sure of, the wholly unsalacious birth of the restaurant.

Unfortunately, this book suffers from a terrible lack of organization (chronological order would have made sense, but it seems to jump around all over the place).  For as much exhaustive research as went on behind the scenes of the final product, I really wanted the chapters to be...longer.  Many of the chapters are only a page or two in total, even with the footnotes.  But it's a fun, gossipy, inclusive read overall.  If you're looking for something that delves more into the historical impact of sexuality, try Sex with Kings, but this is a great introduction into those parts of our collective past that are often overlooked in a classroom setting.

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