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Sex With Kings: Five Hundred Years Of Adultery, Power, Rivalry, And Revenge
Sex With Kings Five Hundred Years Of Adultery Power Rivalry And Revenge
Author: Eleanor Herman
Throughout the centuries, royal mistresses have been worshiped, feared, envied, and reviled. They set the fashions, encouraged the arts, and, in some cases, ruled nations. Eleanor Herman's Sex with Kings takes us into the throne rooms and bedrooms of Europe's most powerful monarchs. Alive with flamboyant characters, outrageous humor, and stirrin...  more »
ISBN-13: 9780060585440
ISBN-10: 0060585447
Publication Date: 4/1/2005
Pages: 287
Rating:
  • Currently 3.4/5 Stars.
 87

3.4 stars, based on 87 ratings
Publisher: Perennial
Book Type: Paperback
Members Wishing: 0
Reviews: Member | Amazon | Write a Review

Top Member Book Reviews

reviewed Sex With Kings: Five Hundred Years Of Adultery, Power, Rivalry, And Revenge on
Helpful Score: 4
Honestly, I found this book to be rather boring. It seemed to rehash many of the same royals' tales from chapter to chapter. I ended up skimming through the last half of the book just looking for new or interesting insights. The topic itself had a lot of potential to be fascinating, but the writing style of this author just didn't hold my attention.
reviewed Sex With Kings: Five Hundred Years Of Adultery, Power, Rivalry, And Revenge on
Helpful Score: 3
It's an interesting subject, sex. Typically, it leads to interesting media: sizzling scenes in novels, tantalizing romance in movies and TV, and even straight-up porn. This pair of books has none of that.

For all the explicitness of their titles, the Sex with... books have no explicit content. As it turns out, real sex that happened between real people throughout history has been really boring. Everything is couched in the too-subtle metaphors of the time. The books could easily have been spiced up with a few excerpts from actual letters passed between lovers, but even this is absent. Unless one wants to double check each quote by flipping back to the appendix, the whole book seems like hearsay, and dull hearsay at that. ("Did you hear about Queen Victoria's lover?" "No! What happened?" "They exchanged long glances over dinner, and sometimes held hands in the garden!" "Gasp! What scandal!")

Overall, the point of these books seems not to be sex, or even kings and queens, but women. (Kings were dumb! Women were awesome! Behold, these women who had sex with royalty, be they queens or mistresses! Are they not keen?) That is all well and good, except for the teasing little passages where the author lets slip that, oops, this king or that king did not like women. Instead of doing as promised on the back of the book (going into exhausting detail about the lives and motivations of the people who had sex with kings), the author merely gives the names of male lovers and moves on to the next fascinating woman on her list. One supposes that she expects the interested reader to do their own damn research.

The strangest part of the issue mentioned above is that the male lovers of kings crop up more often in Sex with the Queen than in Sex with Kings, usually to illustrate why the queen had to seek a lover. This fact only adds to the impression that the books are poorly organized, an impression first given because the books do not progress chronologically, but by something vaguely resembling a system of keywords. Money, childbirth, love, death, and secrecy all get their own chapters, which means the same names come up again and again, not because royalty have a tendency to reuse names, but because the same people get their life story told multiple times. As a tactic to increase page count, it is impressive. If the goal was to increase reader interest, it falls flat.

If you enjoy reading about history and how women were totally awesome in it, these books are for you. If you want any kind of education, Wikipedia would be just as informative, if not moreso. And if you want a book worth the stigma you would get from reading it in public, I would recommend anything else.
reviewed Sex With Kings: Five Hundred Years Of Adultery, Power, Rivalry, And Revenge on + 47 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Fascinating historical look at the struggle to become the king's mistress and the power held by a mistress as opposed to the queen. Covers multiple monarchies and how mistresses came in and out of power throughout.
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reviewed Sex With Kings: Five Hundred Years Of Adultery, Power, Rivalry, And Revenge on + 2 more book reviews
a unique historical perspective on the power some select women had in influencing history through their royal connections. focuses mainly on Europea nroyalty, not much on other societies, and occasionally a bit repetitive but overall a very good read
KittenBooky avatar reviewed Sex With Kings: Five Hundred Years Of Adultery, Power, Rivalry, And Revenge on + 28 more book reviews
This book was supposed to be about the historical role the mistress played in the structure and balance of the monarchy. Be it for beauty, politics, power, greed, or even love, the mistress played an important role whether moral or not. This book was disappointing to say the least. This book is not organized well. To read it is confusing and without an organized flow. It was very disjointed and skipped around way too much. The characters begin to blend together and it is hard for the reader to place the event being read about into a time line with the right historical figures. The character stories should have been organized into mini-stories or into specific topics, or at least by a time table. An interesting insight to the role of mistress. I already have another of Eleanor Herman's books and I am not sure that I will read it through like this one if it is as haphazardly put together like this one.

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reviewed Sex With Kings: Five Hundred Years Of Adultery, Power, Rivalry, And Revenge on + 5 more book reviews
Read in a day. Great insight into the wonders of being a mistress. Also read Sex with the Queen, though the men suffer death more often, a great read.


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