Forget the history you were taught in school; Richard Zacks's version is crueler and funnier than anything you might have learned in seventh-grade civics--and much more of a gross-out, too. Described on the book jacket as an "autodidact extraordinaire," Zacks is also the author of History Laid Bare
, making him something of an expert guide through history's back alleys and side streets. There's no fact too seamy or perverse for Zacks to drag out into the light of day, from matters scatological and sexual to some of history's most truly bizarre episodes. Curious about ancient nose-blowing etiquette? What about the sexual proclivities of Catherine the Great? Throughout chapters such as "The Evolution of Underwear" and "Dentistry Before Novocaine," Zacks proves a tireless debunker of popular myths as well as a muckraker par excellence.
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Fascinating & sometimes deeply weird true stories!
Just a small taste of the intellectual smorgasbord contained in this volume.
Did you know:
that in the original story of Goldilocks the bears torture and kill their impolite visitor?
that Pope Leo XIII appeared in an advertisement for cocaine-laced wine in the 1880s?
that people didn't eat with forks until the 1700s?
that Sir Isaac Newton's famous humble-pie quote "If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants" was actually written to a dwarf scientist named Robert Hooke and clearly meant as an insult?
that Thomas Edison secretly helped develop the electric chair in a scheme to have the lethal machine named after his arch-rival, George Westinghouse?
that the first pediatric guide written in the United States recommended that expectant mothers breastfeed puppies?
that for two centuries French scientists obsessively experimented on freshly decapitated heads in an effort to discover whether the bodiless brain still functioned?
that Cleopatra was ugly as sin?From the Hardcover edition.