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Sex Lives of the Popes Paperback – September 1, 2004


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Paperback, September 1, 2004
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Product Details

  • Series: Sex Lives
  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Prion; 2nd edition (September 1, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 185375546X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1853755460
  • Product Dimensions: 0.4 x 5 x 7.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,531,579 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

Prion’s internationally best–selling Sex Lives series presents lighthearted accounts of the sexual escapades of major figures in history, politics, religion, the arts, and the Silver Screen. Irreverent and gossipy, the books are packed with carnal tidbits and eye–opening revelations.

More About the Author

Nigel Cawthorne is the author of over a hundred books, from serious political works such as The Iron Cage to lightweight comic romps such as Sex Lives of the Popes. Sex Lives of the Presidents got him on the Joan Rivers Show. He was hauled in front of a Senate Select Committee for The Bamboo Cage. And "Read this book." was the last line of the Washington Post's review of his book Takin' Back My Name: The Confessions of Ike Turner. So there is plenty for everyone to enjoy.

Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

21 of 24 people found the following review helpful By J. N. W. Bos on December 29, 2001
Format: Paperback
This book emphasizes on the attitude of the popes towards the sex lives of their priests. Many popes were concerned with the celibacy of their priests and forbade marriage for priests. However, they used to sell them licenses for keeping mistresses. Usually, they were prepared to tolerate priests who kept incestuous relations with female relatives or raped women in the church. "When a woman fainted during confession and the priest seized the opportunity to rape her, the Inquisition found that this, technically, was not a case of soliciting." The pope's only concern was that priests would defile the sacrament when handling it afterwards.
The passages about the sex lives of the popes themselves are mainly based on hearsay. Cawthorne accuses several popes of incest with either their sisters or bastard daughters, like pope Alexander VI Borgia, who retired with his daughter to "an interior room and remained locked up together for more than an hour". In secret she gave birth to a baby that was hidden, but that doesn't prove that her father was the father. Many other popes seem to have had preferences for young boys, prostitutes or sex-and-food orgies in general.
Despite many unproven accusations, the book clearly shows that many popes were mainly concerned with their own pleasures and did not give a damn about Christian values. Anyway, the book is good reading stuff.
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18 of 25 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 22, 2000
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
"Sex Lives of the Popes" reads fluidly and easily. Others may find that a weakness in the lack of endless "scholastic" efforts to document every work by reference to "previous scholars." Well, for the minority among us who are "academia," that may be of interest. But for the ordinary reader, there is sufficient substantiation, and the book retains its vitality instead of succumbing to mind-numbing scholarly endedavor. It's real, and revealing, and surely an anathema to all the scholars of the "Holy Mother Church," to which the work may lend a new meaning. If one isn't a hidebound statistician, or a blindly faithful Catholic Cleric, then this book will be a great source of wondrous information, with relevance to the religious events and practices of the past centuries as well as to the present day's less than presentable (reported and unreported) practices of many of the Church's selected clergical leaders. By all means, everyone should read this book, in the interests of presentation of all the facts, whether they agree with the book or not. For example, do you know why the new pope must sit on the "saddle" before he's confirmed by the Cardinals? And did you know that there was a female Pope? It's a great book. Rush out and read it.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By TED B. on September 23, 1998
Format: Paperback
This book contains everything you ever really wanted to know about the sex lives of the popes and anti popes. (Apparently there were anti popes in Rome as well as in Avignon.) The book is interesting and even humorous, but not a serious work of history. Easy reading. It's also a good review of which pope was which and what sort of people they were personally.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 1, 1999
Format: Paperback
This book emphasizes on the attitude of the popes towards the sex lives of their priests. Many popes were concerned with the celibacy of their priests and forbade marriage for priests. However, they used to sell them licenses for keeping mistresses. Usually, they were prepared to tolerate priests who kept incestuous relations with female relatives or raped women in the church. "When a woman fainted during confession and the priest seized the opportunity to rape her, the Inquisition found that this, technically, was not a case of soliciting." The pope's only concern was that priests would defile the sacrament when handling it afterwards. The passages about the sex lives of the popes themselves are mainly based on hearsay. Cawthorne accuses several popes of incest with either their sisters or bastard daughters, like pope Alexander VI Borgia, who retired with his daughter to "an interior room and remained locked up together for more than an hour". In secret she gave birth to a baby that was hidden, but that doesn't prove that her father was the father. Many other popes seem to have had preferences for young boys, prostitutes or sex-and-food orgies in general. Despite many unproven accusations, the book clearly shows that many popes were mainly concerned with their own pleasures and did not give a damn about Christian values. Anyway, the book is good reading stuff.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Pat on February 8, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book was very interesting but gory--I had to put it down a few times. I thought it was just because I am a female but the male friend who refered it to me, said the same thing. This book is actually very freeing. I also find it amazing how these men made up all these "rules," that they did not live by, themselves. I am further convinced that nobody had a choice but be a "Christian."

To think they would actually murder each other just to be in power...hmm so much for "thou shall not kill."

I realize the interpretation of these events could be part of the author's imagination, but I dont think he is very far off IF he is at all with the facts.
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