Wednesday, October 9, 2013

History's Greatest Scandals by Ed Wright

I admit to being one of those folks for whom the "horrible" series (horrible history, horrible science) was a source of entertainment. Every time someone tries to dress up learning in a fun way, I have a need to read it (like eating a piece of medicine coated in candy). Then again, I sometimes read textbooks for fun, so....

History's Greatest Scandals is really a book full of very short biographies of people who did things considered scandalous in their time. Yes, Watergate and Bill Clinton are mentioned. So is Queen Catherine of Russia (check name). As a whole, the book is divided into six different sections - Political misconduct (most number of scandals), Murder and Mystery, False Prophets, On the Lam, Double Lives, Private Perversions. Each section has at least three scandals/biographies. Each biography is broken into three parts - why the scandal happened (aka the early years), the scandal, and the aftermath (did he/she escape unscathed?). And if you're really interested, there's a long long list of biographies that you can use as a reference for further reading.

Personally, I would have liked the book to be a lot lot longer. There's something fascinating about reading about how all these other people have screwed up, I mean done wrong. In fact, in the False Prophets section, it seems that there is a connection between two of the fake preachers - and that is something that I would have liked to read more about.

Unfortunately, there is a rather strong western emphasis. I counted, and there is exactly one Asian reference - Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos. And well, this book isn't called 'Western History's Greatest Scandals'. I mean, I'm sure we have a lot more - in the past few months, Singapore has Pastor Kong, who used the Church's money to promote his wife's singing career, China has Bo Xilai (and many others, but this is the most recent one), Malaysia has Anwar, and well, just the South East Asian region alone has enough for a book.

Hey, maybe someone should write a sequel to this - History's Greatest Scandals (Asian version)

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book for a free and honest review from the publisher via NetGalley.

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