Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
The Sexual History of London: From Roman Londinium to the Swinging City---Lust, Vice, and Desire Across the Ages Paperback – December 24, 2012
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
“Hugely entertaining . . . [Arnold] is a delightful travelling companion through the centuries of the city of sin.” ―Jeanette Winterson, The Times (UK)
“Often titillating, sometimes shocking, frequently entertaining . . . The book is a lively affirmation of sexual desire in all its varieties.” ―The Observer (UK)
“To pack 2000 years of vice into less than 400 pages is a challenge, but Arnold achieves it admirably.” ―The Independent (UK)
“There's plenty to get stuck into here. Arnold arranges her formidable research lucidly.” ―Evening Standard (UK)
“Richly detailed . . . an engaging survey of sex and the city.” ―The Sunday Times (UK)
About the Author
CATHARINE ARNOLD read English at Girton College, Cambridge, and holds a further degree in psychology. A journalist, academic, and popular historian, her previous books include Necropolis: London and Its Dead and Bedlam: London and Its Mad.
Top customer reviews
The other error was saying that Henry VIII had syphilis, there is NO hard evidence that Henry VIII had sypilis, no description of him being treated for it(and the treatment was pretty horrific). It is true that Henry VIII had an ulcer on his thigh, he never had the pox that are a symptom of syphilis. A much more likely theory put forth in a documentary 'The Body of Henry VIII' is that Henry suffered from Type II Diabetes and poor medical treatment for the injuries and illness he suffered throughout his life and reign.
I realize that this book is about sex and that my nitpicking is probably of little interest, but considering that this woman is a historian, it seems silly to me for her to allow such glaring errors into an otherwise very interesting book.
Then I hit the horrible historical inaccuracy of a huge, well-known fact: the author describing Edward IV as Henry VI's son. Henry VI did have a son named Edward but he didn't become king. He was killed in battle with Edward IV.
Edward IV was a nobleman from the House of York while Henry VI was House of Lancaster. A historian would know this and not get an obvious fact about the War of the Roses wrong.
If something this simple is wrong, I can't trust anything else in the book to be accurate. Turned me off the book and the author completely.
I would return this if I could.
Catherine Arnold's credentials (read English at Cambridge; further degree in psychology) are clearly on show here as she paints a vivid picture of this crucial side of human behavior and how it shaped history and urban development. There can't be too many books on this subject, so this is a welcome piece of scholarly research.
It is essentially a history of prostitution (male and female) rather than general sexual behavior through the ages, but Arnold still uses excellent source material and a colorful narrative to take the reader on a journey through time.
It is neither titillating nor crass, but instead deals with the topic with great insight and intelligence. And despite its somewhat narrow brief, it manages to avoid becoming repetitive.
Every chapter fascinated me, the women, mostly prostitutes through the ages, are survivors. Arnold has a gift for making the grimmest, ugliest parts of London's brothels and street trade sizzle with details. But it's not entirely about the sex trade either. Her passages detailing Oscar Wilde's exploits are interesting. Though a few passages come off a touch pedantic, TSHoL is a must read for romance authors penning historical fiction set in London. Eye opening.