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The Sinner's Grand Tour: A Journey Through the Historical Underbelly of Europe Paperback – May 10, 2011


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Editorial Reviews

Review

“Hugely entertaining... Perrottet has a wonderful knack for ferreting out the obscure, the offbeat, and the just plain weird. A real eye opener.” 
Booklist
 

“Lots of people write about sex, and lots of people write about history, but nobody writes about either quite the way Tony Perrottet does. His well-informed wit is front and center in his latest—and, for my money—best book to date. . . . The perfect read for anyone blessed with a sense of humor and a touch of perverse curiosity.”
—Chris Ryan, New York Times-bestselling author of Sex at Dawn: The Prehistoric Origins of Modern Sexuality

"This X-rated version of “National Lampoon’s European Vacation” segues into an amusing — and absorbing — series of quests...  (Perrottet) tears away Europe’s decorous historical facade he pays spirited homage to the rakes and reprobates who subscribed to Casanova’s motto: “I have devoted my life to the pursuit of pleasure.” 
-- The New York Times Book Review
 

“Delightful and edifying... Undercover historian Tony Perrottet presents the Tour with a twist: studying the Continent’s most famous, or infamous, sites and relics associated with human sexuality, from the belle epoque brothels of Paris to a secret Vatican bathroom covered with erotic panels by Raphael.”
—Trip Lit, National Geographic Traveler
 

“A terrifically funny writer . . . informative and twice as quirky. 
—Boston Globe

About the Author

TONY PERROTTET is the author of four previous books: Off the Deep End, Pagan Holiday, The Naked Olympics, and Napoleon's Privates. He lives in New York City.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Broadway Books (May 10, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307592189
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307592187
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.8 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #675,525 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

The need for perpetual motion has always been Tony Perrottet's most obvious personality disorder. While studying history at Sydney University, the Australian-born Perrottet regularly disappeared hitch-hiking through the Outback, sailing the coast of Sumatra or traveling through rural India (enjoying a brief and inglorious career as a film extra in Rajasthan). After graduation, he moved to South America to work as a "roving correspondent," where he covered the Shining Path war in Peru, drug running in Colombia and several military rebellions in Argentina. A brief visit to Manhattan fifteen years ago convinced him that New York was the ideal place for a rootless wanderer to be based. From his current home in the East Village of Manhattan, he has continued to commute to Iceland, Tierra del Fuego, Wyoming, Tasmania and Zanzibar, while contributing to international publications including the New York Times, Smithsonian Magazine, Conde Nast Traveler, Slate, Esquire, Outside and the London Sunday Times.

Perrottet is the author of five books - a collection of travel stories, Off the Deep End: Travels in Forgotten Frontiers (1997); Pagan Holiday: On the Trail of Ancient Roman Tourists (2002); The Naked Olympics: The True Story of the Greek Games (2004); Napoleon's Privates: 2500 Years of History Unzipped (2008); and The Sinner's Grand Tour: A Journey Through the Historical Underbelly of Europe (2011, Broadway Books). His travel stories have been widely anthologized and have been selected four times for the Best American Travel Writing series. He is also a regular television guest on the History Channel, where he has spoken about everything from the Crusades to the birth of disco.

Customer Reviews

They became available to the enterprising author but probably would not be so for us.
Owl
And the chapter about the "naughty" bath room (room for a bath as opposed to a bathroom) in the Vatican was particularly interesting.
Melinda Burnett
The description of the author's travels as well as the subject of the book is very entertaining.
Bruce Miller

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Elizabeth Flock on May 23, 2011
Format: Paperback
He's done it again, folks. Tony Perrottet's new book is chock full of history, humor and one-of-a-kind detail you will NOT find anywhere else. Whether you're planning a European adventure or you're looking to spice up your dinner party banter, Perrottet has got you covered. How could anyone resist titles like "Love In the Time of Body Lice" and "The Attic of Royal Sex"? I couldn't. And I consider myself the better for it. Seriously. Invite me to your next dinner and you'll see: thanks to Perrottet I'll be the life of the party. I loved his book "Napoleon's Privates"...and I love "The Sinner's Grand Tour." Maybe even a smidge more. Buy this book immediately. You won't be disappointed.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Susan Hitchcock on May 22, 2011
Format: Paperback
I never thought learning about the more raunchy side of history could be so entertaining until I picked up this book. I highly recommend you read this naughty travelogue so you can impress and shock your friends with stories about Casanova's escape from prison and King Edward VII's sex chair. I admit this book made me blush, but it also made me laugh at how there never seems to be a lack of erotic escapades throughout history. A great read
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By John Colapinto on May 26, 2011
Format: Paperback
I'm not sure who you can compare Tony Perrottet to as a writer and historian. He's as funny as Kingsley Amis when detailing his travails as a traveler and reporter (and husband and father--he tends to undertake his research jaunts with faithful wife Lesley, and exuberant small sons Henry and Sam in tow), but he's also as meticulous and resourceful as the best historians. Evidently determined to wreak vengeance on every grade school history teacher who managed to make the past seem deadly dull, Perrottet has a special talent for bringing the past vividly alive, often through illuminating corners of history that fustier heads overlook. In this instance, the sex chair. And (oh God) the "test platter." (You'll have to read the book). And then there is the chapter on Pierre Cardin and the Marquis de Sade. If there is a funnier, more harrowing, more interesting chapter in a nonfiction book this season, I'd like to know what it is. Highly recommended.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By William Doyle on May 11, 2011
Format: Paperback
Tony Perrottet has done it again and knocked the ball out of the ballpark. This is a hilariously funny, richly detailed and impeccably researched work of scholarship that is simultaneously entertaining in the extreme. Highly recommended, great fun and very naughty.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Stephen T. Hopkins VINE VOICE on September 14, 2011
Format: Paperback
Personalized tours of Europe and elsewhere provide travelers with experiences that are tailored perfectly to one's interests. Tony Perrottet designed such a tour, and used a family vacation for him to present his wife and young children with the experience of a lifetime: a romp through Europe's best sites with sexual themes. His account of their trip is titled, The Sinner's Grand Tour: A Journey Through the Historical Underbelly of Europe. Perrottet's narrative is engaging and entertaining, and the places he describes are peculiar and most of them have been omitted from the history texts most of us have read. Among my favorite chapters: visiting the bathroom that Raphael painted in the Pope's apartment at the Vatican, and being invited by Pierre Cardin to see the bowels of the house in southern France that had been owned by the Marquis de Sade. Armchair travelers will revel in Perrottet's crisp writing, but trip planners may want to stick to Baedeker or an equivalent.

Rating: Three-star (Recommended)
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on August 28, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
"(My wife) Les was very understanding when I'd first broached the idea of this trip back home in Manhattan ... 'It sounds great. But I'm coming too. And so are the kids.'" - Author Tony Perrottet on the Sinners's Grand Tour concept

According to the author of THE SINNER'S GRAND TOUR, his feverish visions of an odyssey of discovery through Western Europe to validate personal suspicions regarding the existence of salacious and historically suppressed sexual practices began when he was an Australian teenager attending a strict Irish Catholic high school. Yes, well, raging hormones will do that. But in this case, it also resulted in a fun read, though perhaps one of no enduring literary significance.

In eight chapters, Perrottet's travel essay focuses on Scottish male masturbation clubs, Parisien prostitution during the Belle Époque, the Marquis de Sade and his château at Lacoste in Provence, the sex lives of French medieval peasants as recorded by the Inquisition, the free-love lifestyle of British expats Lord Byron and Percy Bysshe Shelley in Switzerland, the amorous career of Casanova in Venice, the legendary existence of a bathroom in the Vatican decorated with pornographic tiles, and the island of Capri's traditional reputation for sexual hedonism.

THE SINNER'S GRAND TOUR isn't consistently salacious, though it does have its prurient moments. How can it be when the author's research is a (large) part of his family summer vacation? I mean, a narrative of the Amsterdam red light district based on personal experience this isn't.
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