THE SINNER'S GRAND TOUR

A JOURNEY THROUGH THE HISTORICAL UNDERBELLY OF EUROPE

A travel journalist’s search for pornographic relics, subversive texts and sinful sites becomes the itinerary for his family’s European vacation.

Victorian elites once sent their sons on the Grand Tour. These lengthy excursions allowed young men the opportunity for leisurely indulgence in the cornucopia of European cultural delights. Perrottet’s quest for enlightenment heads in a more saucy direction. Having tackled similar bawdy topics in his previous books (Napoleon’s Privates: 2,500 Years of History Unzipped, 2008, etc), the author was mesmerized by collection of sexual oddities housed in the British Museum, including ancient Roman phallic jewelry and amulets depicting athletic coital positions. With his family in tow, Perrottet began tracking down the “forbidden historical fruit” scattered across Europe. Starting their vacation along the gloomy Scottish coastline, the author visited the Beggar’s Benison, a sex club founded in 1732. As his wife and sons longed for sunshine and swimming pools, the family slowly navigated toward sunnier locales with stops in Paris, the French countryside, Lake Geneva, Venice and the Vatican. They finally landed in Capri, where “[i]t was as if the soil itself were irrigated with sin. The brilliant light, the crystalline water, the languid heat, all cried out, carpe diem.” Throughout, Perrottet humorously recounts his travails at tracking down the location of luxurious Belle Époque brothels; his thrill at securing a spot with a secret tour of Casanova’s prison cell; and his successful wrangling with Vatican authorities for a glimpse of Raphael’s Bathroom of Love. In Lacoste, the author gently and persistently pestered Pierre Cardin, the owner of the Marquis de Sade’s home, into allowing him a visit into the infamous rake’s dungeon. Perrottet layers his narrative with tantalizing historical research, funny family complications and slightly acerbic comments regarding contemporary Europeans. A well-researched, amusing recollection of one family’s offbeat holiday trek to the naughty nooks of Europe.

 

Pub Date: May 10, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-307-59218-7

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Broadway

Review Posted Online: April 3, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2011

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...

THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE

50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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IN MY PLACE

From the national correspondent for PBS's MacNeil-Lehrer Newshour: a moving memoir of her youth in the Deep South and her role in desegregating the Univ. of Georgia. The eldest daughter of an army chaplain, Hunter-Gault was born in what she calls the ``first of many places that I would call `my place' ''—the small village of Due West, tucked away in a remote little corner of South Carolina. While her father served in Korea, Hunter-Gault and her mother moved first to Covington, Georgia, and then to Atlanta. In ``L.A.'' (lovely Atlanta), surrounded by her loving family and a close-knit black community, the author enjoyed a happy childhood participating in activities at church and at school, where her intellectual and leadership abilities soon were noticed by both faculty and peers. In high school, Hunter-Gault found herself studying the ``comic-strip character Brenda Starr as I might have studied a journalism textbook, had there been one.'' Determined to be a journalist, she applied to several colleges—all outside of Georgia, for ``to discourage the possibility that a black student would even think of applying to one of those white schools, the state provided money for black students'' to study out of state. Accepted at Michigan's Wayne State, the author was encouraged by local civil-rights leaders to apply, along with another classmate, to the Univ. of Georgia as well. Her application became a test of changing racial attitudes, as well as of the growing strength of the civil-rights movement in the South, and Gault became a national figure as she braved an onslaught of hostilities and harassment to become the first black woman to attend the university. A remarkably generous, fair-minded account of overcoming some of the biggest, and most intractable, obstacles ever deployed by southern racists. (Photographs—not seen.)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-374-17563-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1992

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