Royal Babylon: The Alarming History of European Royalty

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9780767907552: Royal Babylon: The Alarming History of European Royalty
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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.

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From the madness of King George to the equine escapades of Catherine the Great, from the intramural squabbles of Elizabeth and Di to the staggeringly decadent exploits of Charles X: in this gossipy chronicle of regal shenanigans, British journalist Karl Shaw dishes plenty of dirt--and ably demonstrates why royal watching is such a satisfying hobby.

Was there ever a good monarch? To judge by Shaw's account, it's unlikely. Instead, he writes, "Every monarchy in Europe has at some time or another been ruled over by a madman," adding in passing that only Bavaria's King Ludwig had the good grace to turn his madness into a source of tourist revenue for his subjects' descendants. Of the mad and the downright curious there's no shortage in these pages, as Shaw delivers anecdote after anecdote concerning the demented, sometimes awful, sometimes entertaining behavior of the likes of Germany's Frederick the Great, who "drank up to forty cups of coffee a day for several weeks in an experiment to see if it was possible to exist without sleep"; Russia's Catherine I, "a raddled old alcoholic with bloodshot eyes, wild and matted hair and clothes soiled with urine stains ... [who] once survived an assassination attempt too drunk to realize that anything had happened"; and England's Queen Mary, "the only known royal kleptomaniac," whose aides would surreptitiously gather the knickknacks she'd lifted from her subjects' parlors and return them with muffled apologies.

Royal Babylon is a guilty pleasure of a book, and one that does a fine job of explaining, in Shaw's tongue-in-cheek words, "why most continentals can't get enough of royalty, provided it isn't their own." --Gregory McNamee

About the Author:

Karl Shaw wrote and illustrated for UK newspapers and magazines for several years before working in advertising and marketing. He now lives in Staffordshire, England, where he has channeled a misdirected education into several books including Royal Babylon: The Alarming History of European Royalty5 People Who Died During SexCuring Hiccups with Small Fires: A Miscellany of Great British Eccentrics, and 10 Ways to Recycle a Corpse.

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9780753503607: Royal Babylon: The Alarming History of European Royalty

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Book Description Random House USA Inc, United States, 2001. Paperback. Condition: New. New edition. Language: English . Brand New Book. 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. Seller Inventory # AAS9780767907552

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Book Description Random House USA Inc, United States, 2001. Paperback. Condition: New. New edition. Language: English . Brand New Book. 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. Seller Inventory # AAS9780767907552

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Book Description Random House USA Inc, United States, 2001. Paperback. Condition: New. New edition. Language: English . This book usually ship within 10-15 business days and we will endeavor to dispatch orders quicker than this where possible. Brand New Book. 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. Seller Inventory # BTE9780767907552

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