A Treasury of Royal Scandals: The Shocking True Stories of History’s Wickedest, Weirdest, Most Wanton Kings, Queens, Tsars, Popes, and Emperors by Michael Farquhar
ISBN-13: 978-0140280241
Penguin Books, New York, 2001
352 p.

GENRE: Non-Fiction, European History

TEASER: This is not in any history book you’ve ever seen.

SUMMARY: Learn which Popes and kings died of sexually transmitted diseases. Take a closer look at Catherine the Great’s string of lovers. Farquhar gives you all of European history’s dirty little secrets.

CRITIQUE: The book begins with a series of royal family trees to give the reader a sense of how these families were connected. It is laid out in a very well planned and inviting manner. The book is sectioned off into themed sections such as: “Unholy Matrimony”, “When in Rome”, “Strange Reigns”, “Papal Vice”, “Royal Family Feud”, etc.

Not a lot of teenagers shop for books in the history section. This book is meant to appeal to teenagers and adults who are not necessarily fans of history lessons. The writing is funny and easy to read. Sometimes it’s quite hard to put down. Michael Farquhar has revealed the skeletons in histories closet with a delightful and fun wit.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Michael Farquhar is a writer for the Washington Post, specializing in history. He has appeared on the History Channel’s The French Revolution and Russia, Land of the Tsars. Some of his other titles include: Behind the Palace Doors, A Treasury of Great American Scandals, A Treasury of Deception: Liars, Misleaders, Hoodwinkers, and Extraordinary True Stories of History’s Greatest Hoaxes, Fakes and Frauds, and A Treasury of Foolishly Forgotten Americans. He lives in Washington, D.C.

AUTHOR’S WEBSITE: http://www.royalscandals.com/

READING LEVEL: General Adult

CHALLENGE ISSUES: Some people might object to the sexual content, incest, rape, abuse, pedophilia, adultery, homosexuality, violence, and murder. I probably missed one.

DEFENSE: I would ask that people look at Farquhar’s research and bibliography.

I would also suggest looking at the ALA’s support page for challenged materials.

CURRICULUM TIES: European History

BOOKTALKING IDEAS: Which wicked tale is your favorite?

Do you think this type of book would create more of an interest in learning history?

WHY INCLUDED: I actually was introduced to this book through a history teacher in highschool. I reread it to this day. I have always loved history and I love scandalous history even more. I think it makes people what to learn about history even more. Teens will want to read a book like this even more because it contains all the dirty little details that the standard history books won’t share with you.

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