Royal Babylon : the alarming history of European royalty

by Shaw, Karl.

Format: Print Book 2001
Availability: Available at 2 Libraries 2 of 2 copies
Available (2)
Location Collection Call #
CLP - Main Library Mezzanine - Non-fiction D412.7.S53 2001
Location  CLP - Main Library
 
Collection  Mezzanine - Non-fiction
 
Call Number  D412.7.S53 2001
 
 
Penn Hills Library Non-Fiction 940.28 SHA
Location  Penn Hills Library
 
Collection  Non-Fiction
 
Call Number  940.28 SHA
 
 
Summary
An uproarious, eye-opening history of Europe's notorious royal houses that leaves no throne unturned and will make you glad you live in a democracy.

Do you want to know which queen has the unique distinction of being the only known royal kleptomaniac? Or which empress kept her dirty underwear under lock and key? Or which czar, upon discovering his wife's infidelity, had her lover decapitated and the head, pickled in a jar, placed at her bedside?

Royally dishing on hundreds of years of dubious behavior, Royal Babylon chronicles the manifold appalling antics of Europe's famous families, behavior that rivals the characters in an Aaron Spelling television series. Here, then, are the insane kings of Spain, one of whom liked to wear sixteen pairs of gloves at one time; the psychopathic Prussian soverigns who included Frederick William and his 102-inch waist; sex-fixated French rulers such as Philip Duke D'Oreleans cavorting with more than a hundred mistresses; and, of course, the delightfully drunken and debauched Russian czars - Czar Paul, for example, who to make his soldiers goose-step without bending their legs had steel plates strapped to their knees. But whether Romanov or Windsor, Habsburg or Hanover, these extravagant lifestyles, financed as they were by the royals' badgered subjects, bred the most wonderfully offbeat and disturbingly unbelievable tales - and Karl Shaw has collected them all in this hysterically funny and compulsively readable book.

Royal Babylon is history, but not as they teach it in school, and it underlines in side-splitting fashion Queen Victoria's famous warning that it is unwise to look too deeply into the royal houses of Europe.
Published Reviews
Publisher's Weekly Review: "Anyone who loves scandal, particularly the juicy dish on royalty, will inhale this gossipy account by British writer Shaw (The Mammoth Book of Tasteless Lists). In a style reminiscent of low-end tabloids, the author presents a litany of negative and sometimes disgusting details about the personal lives of the men and women who ruled Britain, Germany, Russia, Belgium, Spain, Portugal, Poland and Austria. Leaving the late 20th century mostly behind (his only mention of Charles and Diana is in the introduction), the author concentrates instead on royal misbehavior back to the 1700s. Entertaining overall, many entries are indisputably not for the faint of heart, such as the truly gross story of Russia's Peter the Great ("`Great' was generally a recognition of power or brute strength, no matter how they lived, how many people they had killed or how repulsive they were"), described by Shaw as a "paranoid sadist." This tsar was an alcoholic who tortured people for fun and once forced an attendant to bite into the flesh of a corpse. This chronicle is replete with royal sexual activities, including those of the Bourbons of France, whom Shaw credits with possessing "extraordinary appetites." Irony is Shaw's strong suit, which lends a great deal of humor to often humorless anecdotes. For example, he notes that Spain's King Philip IV fathered 30 illegitimate children "but being a good Catholic always felt bad about it" and forced his wife to have sexual relations three times daily. Like Michael Farquhar's A Treasury of Royal Scandals (see review below), this irreverent and amusing expos‚ of royal indiscretions will appeal especially to those who like their history "lite." Illus. not seen by PW. (May 29) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved"
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Additional Information
Subjects Royal houses -- Europe.
Monarchy -- History.
Courts and courtiers.
Europe -- Kings and rulers -- Biography.
Publisher New York :Broadway Books,2001
Language English
Notes Originally published: London : Virgin Pub., [U.K.] 1999.
Description ix, 325 pages : illustrations ; 21 cm
Bibliography Notes Includes bibliographical references (pages [323]-325).
ISBN 0767907558
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