A TREASURY OF ROYAL SCANDALS: The Shocking True Stories of History's Wickedest, Weirdest, Most Wanton Kings, Queens, Tsars, Popes, and Emperors

Michael Farquhar, Author . Penguin $13 (323p) ISBN 978-0-14-028024-1

In another royal exposé, Farquhar, a writer at the Washington Post, duplicates some of the ground covered in Karl Shaw's Royal Babylon (reviewed above), such as Peter the Great's delight in administering torture (he had his son lashed to death) and the way Britain's Queen Mary cajoled her subjects into giving her their household treasures ("I am caressing it with my eyes," she would coyly coo). Written in a provocative tabloid style (with headings like "We Are Not Abused. We Are Abusive," "A Son Should Love His Mother, But..." and "All the Holiness Money Can Buy"), Farquhar publicly washes the dirty laundry of not only European royalty, but also of Roman emperors and popes. Murderers and torturers who slept with their siblings (and other relatives), the emperors of Rome excelled at corruption. The maniacal pedophile Tiberius Caesar (A.D. 14–37) left the corpses of his many victims to rot on the Gemonian Steps, which descended from the Capitol to the Forum, or alternatively enjoyed watching them being thrown from a cliff ("A contingent of soldiers was stationed below to whack them with oars and boat hooks just in case the fall failed to do the trick"). Many popes were no better. Not content with just rooting out Christian heretics by launching a bloody crusade against the Cathars in southern France, Innocent III (1160–1216) declared himself ruler of the world. He sacked Constantinople and massacred every Muslim he could find. Like Royal Babylon, this gossipy string of anecdotes is a popularized rather than an authoritative history and perfect for travel reading. (May 1)

Reviewed on: 04/30/2001
Release date: 05/01/2001
Genre: Nonfiction
Peanut Press/Palm Reader - 352 pages - 978-1-101-00880-5
Open Ebook - 352 pages - 978-1-101-00827-0
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-1-84197-337-1
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