- Paperback: 304 pages
- Publisher: Broadway Books (May 10, 2011)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0307592189
- ISBN-13: 978-0307592187
- Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.6 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 28 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #841,540 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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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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“Hugely entertaining... Perrottet has a wonderful knack for ferreting out the obscure, the offbeat, and the just plain weird. A real eye opener.”
“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.
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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A pretty light read, it had a few laugh out loud moments, and when I would start sniggering helplessly, I found my husband jealously asking me, "what? What!!!?" and when I would explain to him the topic in question, he would (ummm) cock his head at me and give me a funny look.
Exploring sex, perversions, and rumors from history just makes for juicy (I'm not going there) reading, but it really does make you sit back and think, "what happened to us? What Queen Victoria THAT influential that she made us all a bunch of blushing, shrinking violets in the course of a generation?"
The revelation that the genteel Jane Austin intentionally used the Dashwood name in her novels as a sort of jab was quite interesting, and kind of adds to my suspicion that she was laughing into her hat sometimes. And the chapter about the "naughty" bath room (room for a bath as opposed to a bathroom) in the Vatican was particularly interesting.
As always, well researched, entertaining, and I'll be waiting for the next Perrottet to come out. Recommend!
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.
To a large degree, what is best about Tony's book is his easy-going, dry, and sometimes self-deprecating sense of humor of which this recollection from a Scottish pub is typical:
"The bar maid leaned forward to pour another round of beer, revealing her majestic décolletage. Conversation froze as everyone admired the Secrets of Nature. Talk picked up again when she turned away. This happened over and again, like clockwork. It seemed to encourage the pace of drinking."
THE SINNER'S GRAND TOUR even contains a couple dozen or so black and white travel snaps taken by the author himself.
Perhaps the best chapter is that describing Perrottet's persistent effort to defeat the Vatican bureaucracy and gain entrance into the erotic Stufetta del Bibbiena. Honor and a medal are due.