Historical Heartthrobs: 50 Timeless Crushes-From Cleopatra to Camus

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History is about much more than dusty books, dreary dates, and long-forgotten battles. History is also about sex appeal! Historical Heartthrobs compiles photos and life stories of 50 of the sexiest men and women from history and asks the essential question: Would you really want to date them? Consider George Sand, for instance. She was the hottest thing in pants in nineteenth-century France, but would you really want to put up with all that smoking? Or what about Nikola Tesla? His utter brilliance made Victorians...

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Historical Heartthrobs: 50 Timeless Crushes-From Cleopatra to Camus

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History is about much more than dusty books, dreary dates, and long-forgotten battles. History is also about sex appeal! Historical Heartthrobs compiles photos and life stories of 50 of the sexiest men and women from history and asks the essential question: Would you really want to date them? Consider George Sand, for instance. She was the hottest thing in pants in nineteenth-century France, but would you really want to put up with all that smoking? Or what about Nikola Tesla? His utter brilliance made Victorians swoon, but he seemed incapable of swooning back. Would you endure his indifference in return for that incredible smile?

Each entry in Historical Heartthrobs includes a full-page photo, contemporary quotes, and an in-depth explanation of who these people were, why they mattered, and how they managed to be so seductive.

Entries also include:

Vital stats about the hottie's place of birth, lifespan, and major areas of influence.
The inside scoop on peccadilloes, noteworthy liaisons, and long-standing relationships.
An overall heat reading that factors in sex appeal, charisma, accomplishments, and of course, moral virtue. (Points are docked for brutality and rudeness!)

Everyone included here made their mark on the world—but not everyone did so in an equally admirable fashion. John Wilkes Booth was definitely good-looking, but racist assassins don't generally make for the best life partners. Nellie Bly, on the other hand, did more in her average year than most people do in a lifetime—and she happened to look like a model, too. So review their records, check out their photos, and choose the hottie who makes you swoon.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The good thing about falling for a dead person is that they never leave you, as Murphy and Fryd demonstrate in this broad-ranging, tongue-in-cheek guide to the hotties of history. The diverse individuals profiled stand out for their commitment to social causes, artistic and political influence, and sheer audacity. Included are Frida Kahlo (“Even her eyebrows became icons”), Lord Byron (“Style of seduction: Breakin’ hearts”), Harry Houdini, Frederick Douglass, and even a few living people, such as Jane Goodall and Gloria Steinem. The authors candidly explore each individual’s accomplishments (under the heading “Why She/He Matters”), sex lives, reputation, and “Heat Factor” (George Sand’s androgyny, same-sex affairs, and rejection of rigid social mores earn her a “Scandalously hot” rating, while the celibate Nikola Tesla “may have had good looks, but he also only had eyes for science”). Controversial figures (“Hotness doesn’t necessarily equal goodness,” as the introduction quips), such as Nazi sympathizer and filmmaker Leni Riefenstahl (high cheekbones don’t compensate for brushing elbows with Hitler), receive nuanced examination. With engrossing photos, lively quotations, and witty writing, it’s “the complete package”—just like Nellie Bly. Ages 14–up. (Jan.) ¦
From the Publisher
“A fun book for any reader, with a balanced mix of historical anecdotes, romantic trivia, and witty, accessible writing.” -ForeWord Reviews
“(A) broad-ranging, tongue-in-cheek guide to the hotties of history….With engrossing photos, lively quotations, and witty writing, it’s “the complete package”—just like Nellie Bly.” -Publishers Weekly
“Surely a tantalizing start for a beginning researcher.” -Booklist
Children's Literature - Barbara L. Talcroft
Curious teens with a bent for history should be captivated by the heroes and beauties (of both sexes) presented in a format that's mostly informative and often amusing. After a glamorous photo, each appealing character gets three pages of biography, pertinent quotations, and a sidebar or two with extra delicious details. Readers can have fun comparing the attractions of each on Murphy's "heat factor" scale from 1 to 5. Beginning with Cleopatra from the ancient world, Murphy introduces many figures that teens may come across in their reading, but have no idea why they were notable—or notorious. The seductive Egyptian ruler is followed by later celebrities like Marie Antoinette, Lord Byron, and even Benjamin Franklin. Nineteenth-century figures include mathematician Ada Lovelace, abolitionist Frederick Douglass, the infamous John Wilkes Booth (he was a matinee idol), and beautiful Nellie Bly, "the best reporter in America." Moving on to the twentieth century, Murphy introduces a wide range of fascinating achievers from scientists like handsome Nikola Tesla to sexy artists Pablo Picasso and Frida Kahlo. Interestingly, some of the hottest (getting a five on Murphy's scale) are T.E. Lawrence (often portrayed as sexually detached), feminist Gloria Steinem, Roberto Clemente (classy, but no scandals), and passionate fighter for workers' rights, Cesar Chavez. The list ends with the gorgeous but controversial Pakistani politician Benazir Bhutto, assassinated in 2007. Despite some omissions and bloopers (General Grant, for example, was not in the theater when Lincoln was shot), teen readers will get acquainted with the fabulous fifty and may be inspired to investigate further. After all, who could resist Coco Chanel, Josephine Baker, or Bruce Lee? A bibliography of revealing books is included. Reviewer: Barbara L. Talcroft
Voya Reviews, April 2014 (Vol. 36, No. 1) - Lisa Hazlett
Challenging the stereotype of history being dull, these authors profile fifty notables considered sexy by their contemporaries in this entertaining compilation. The same four-page format is followed throughout, beginning with the individual’s full-page drawing or photograph, a paragraph introduction and a longer life summary, information about his/her sex life (i.e., relationship/marital history), contemporary importance, best feature, and heat factor. Pages are colorful and filled with graphics containing quotes and other facts, such as the CIA employed Gloria Steinem or that Teddy Roosevelt’s wife and mother died on the same day. A wide variety of people are profiled, ranging from familiar personages like Cleopatra, Benjamin Franklin, and Jane Goodall to the perhaps lesser-known Maya Deren, Benazir Bhutto, and Mustafa Atatürk. The infamous, such as John Wilkes Booth, Huey Newton, and Fidel Castro, are also included. The information is often fascinating, with much probably unfamiliar to readers, whether teens or adults. As most profiled are not generally considered sex symbols, it is interesting to see them in this light, but focusing on romantic attractiveness to make historical figures more appealing doubtless limits this to a female audience. Moreover, the “Style of Seduction” (“Droppin’ knowledge” for Ben Franklin; Fidel Castro’s “Takin’ charge”) and “Heat Factor” (“Pretty good-looking for a cold-blooded killer” for Bugsy Siegel) sections veer toward cheesy, teen-magazine territory, although readers may disagree. Students generally read selections from nonfiction rather than the entire work, but this book is so absorbing, it should entice its audience to linger. Reviewer: Lisa Hazlett; Ages 11 to 18.
Voya Reviews, April 2014 (Vol. 36, No. 1) - Twila A. Sweeney
This book’s format—full of graphics, pictures, and quotes—creates a fun and interesting read, and its serious information would be helpful for a school report. However, describing dates with the notables and hotness factors seems silly and unrealistic—who thinks about dating Ben Franklin? The infamous profiles are the most interesting, and including more of those might have made this more attractive to males, but overall its romantic focus and girly cover scream female. Reviewer: Twila A. Sweeney, Teen Reviewer; Ages 11 to 18.
Kirkus Reviews
A hit-or-miss selection of notable personalities who made a dent in history. That "the 50 people in this book made other people swoon" is debatable, even accounting for taste, but since the authors consider the nature of "hotness varied, from physical to intellectual to emotional," much yardage is added to the meaning of "heartthrob." On the upside of the book are the pithy character sketches, which get to the nub of their historical impact while keeping the language light. It can drift into campy or corny, but that probably comes with the territory. Each entry ends with short paragraphs marking why this person mattered, his or her best feature, his or her ranking on the "heat factor" (an index of their pros and cons), and the story of his or her sex life. This last, except in the most notorious cases--Lord Byron, George Sand--is either rumor or farce: Harriet Beecher Stowe? W.E.B. DuBois? The overarching issue is "heartthrob"--a hook that doesn't deliver. The emphasis here is on sex appeal--why else make special note of their sex lives?--not just passion, and it is difficult to count Leni Riefenstahl, Bugsy Siegel and Benazir Bhutto in that number (though Eddie Chapman and Maya Deren are gusts of fresh air). "Historical Game Changers" doesn't have the teasing selling power of "Heartthrobs," but it may nail John Wilkes Booth more squarely. (Nonfiction. 12 & up)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781936976102
  • Publisher: Zest
  • Publication date: 1/7/2014
  • Pages: 224
  • Sales rank: 1,481,969
  • Age range: 14 - 17 Years
  • Lexile: 1280L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 7.10 (w) x 8.10 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Born and raised among the sprawling cornfields of rural Pennsylvania, Kelly Murphy now writes from her child-sized apartment in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. Her articles have appeared in Brokelyn, Brooklyn Based, Chic Today, NCTE’s The Council Chronicle, and various other publications. Kelly graduated from Penn State with a degree in English and currently works in publishing.

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Table of Contents

1. Cleopatra  (70/69 BCE–30 BCE)...................12
2. Benjamin Franklin (1706–1790)................16
3. Marie Antoinette (1755–1793)...................20
4. Lord Byron (1788–1824)............................24
5. George Sand (1804–1876)..........................28
6. Harriet Beecher Stowe (1811–1896).........32
7. Ada Lovelace (1815–1852)..........................36
8. Frederick Douglass (1818–1895)...............40
9. Wild Bill Hickok (1837–1876)....................44
10. John Wilkes Booth (1838–1865)..............48
11. Nikola Tesla (1856–1943)..........................52
12. Teddy Roosevelt (1858–1919)..................56
13. Annie Oakley (1860–1926).......................60
14. Nellie Bly (1864–1922)..............................64
15. W.E.B. DuBois (1868–1963)....................68
16. Czarina Alexandra (1872–1918)..............72
17. Harry Houdini (1874–1926).....................76
18. Mata Hari (1876–1917).............................80
19. Isadora Duncan (1877–1927)...................84
20. Mustafa Kemal Atatürk r (1881–1938)..... 88
21. Pablo Picasso (1881–1973).......................92
22. Coco Chanel (1883–1971).......................96
23. T.E. Lawrence (1888–1935).................. 100
24. Jim Thorpe (1887–1953).......................104
25. Duke Kahanamoku (1890–1968)........... 108
26. Bessie Coleman (1892–1926) ...............112
27. Dorothy Parker (1893–1967).................116
28. Amelia Earhart (1897–1937)................120
29. Ernest Hemingway (1899–1961)..........124
30. Leni Riefenstahl (1902–2003)..............128
31. Salvador Dalí (1904–1989).....................132
32. Bugsy Siegel (1906–1947).....................136
33. Josephine Baker (1906–1975)...............140
34. Frida Kahlo (1907–1954).......................144
35. Carmen Miranda (1909–1955)..............148
36. Albert Camus (1913–1960)...................152
37. Eddie Chapman (1914–1997)................156
38. Maya Deren (1917–1961)......................160
39. Eva Perón (1919–1952)..........................164
40. Helen Gurley Brown (1922–2012)........168
41. Fidel Castro (1926–)...............................172
42. Cesar Chávez (1927–1993)....................176
43. Che Guevara (1928–1967)....................180
44. Sylvia Plath (1932–1963).......................184
45. Gloria Steinem (1934–).........................188
46. Jane Goodall (1934–)............................192
47. Roberto Clemente (1934–1972)............196
48. Bruce Lee (1940–1973)..........................200
49. Huey P. Newton (1942–1989)................204
50. Benazir Bhutto (1953–2007).................208
Further Reading......................................212

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 3 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Posted March 15, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    I want to thank Zest Books for providing me with a copy of this

    I want to thank Zest Books for providing me with a copy of this book to read and review! Receiving this book for free has in no way influenced my opinion or review.

    Blurb from Goodreads:
    This book compiles photos and life stories of 50 of the sexiest men and women from history and asks the essential question: Would you really want to date them? Some are artists, some are scientists, and many are political or military leaders, but all have had a lasting impact on human life—and a sizable impact on their admirers as well. Each entry describes the period in which the heartthrob lived and includes essential stats, hilarious sidebars, and, of course, a “crushability” ranking: a measurement of how crush-worthy these people really are, based on their relative levels of heroism (or villainy).

    So, I'm not usually one for non-fiction books. I often don't like to read them. But, when they explore great historical figures in a unique way, my attention gets piqued!

    I love how each figure addressed in the book is given a short bio, to introduce you just in case you have no idea who they are (which for the most part would be incomprehensible to me, since these figures are huge in history!). Following the bio, your given information regarding their sex life and why they matter in history. Finally, the book addresses the character's best feature. It was fun to read these facts and learn more and more about these historical figures! And reading the quotes at the end of each chapter gave some great insight into how others pictured these people.

    I think my favorites were Nikola Tesla, Harry Houdini and Isadora Duncan! Although each figure really was so interesting to learn about! I love anything about Tesla. I just find his work so extremely intriguing. And he's a scientist, which I happen to find very sexy myself! While I knew much of the information presented, there were facts I didn't know and it made me love him even more. As for Houdini, well, I have always found him fascinating. I love illusions and anything to do with "magic." Reading about him just made me realize what an interesting public figure he really was. Finally, Isadora Duncan, well, I was a dancer growing up, and Duncan was one of my idols. So just seeing her name in the book made me giddy because I had done so much research on her in the past. To see her in this new and different light, presented as a heartthrob at that, made me appreciate her even more!

    Of course, I really enjoyed reading about all the figures in the book. I love the layout. Each character is give just a few short pages to identify their contribution to heartthrob history, leaving little time to become bogged down in too much information. And it also allowed me to put the book down and easily pick it back up. Plus, I was able to read through the table of contents easily and identify which figures I wanted to learn about first, flawlessly skipping around in the book without feeling like I had missed anything. And it was nice to see the author chose a very diverse group of people

    Finally, I just love the cover of this book. Even if you remove the dust jacket, you still get to see the lovely cover! I believe teens and adults alike will enjoy these easy read that covers a variety of historical figures with great information and a terrific layout!

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  • Posted February 14, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    I was really thrilled when I was accepted to review this book, a

    I was really thrilled when I was accepted to review this book, and to be able to post on Valentine’s Day was icing on the cake. 50 historical figures, in one book, and all about what makes them a heartthrob. How cool is that? The book itself is light reading, but full of facts. I was expecting just a small book, but was quite surprised in a good way, to find that the book was thick and isn’t just a blip of the person with a photo. It’s well put together and eye catching. The type of book you can share with the family. Yeah, there’s a small blip about each characters sex life, but even that’s pretty tame.

    Now, historically, there are many in the book that I really wouldn’t consider heartthrobs. The author even gives each person a Heat Factor. If the person's HF is “Colder than an assassin’s blade,” than I would think that there’s really no heartthrob factor there either. The book starts off on a banger though with Cleopatra. She was definitely a doozie in her time, heck, in our time she would have been arrested on more than one occasion and that was just from some of her marriages.

    The book starts in early years but progresses into the modern age. Very few of those in the book are actually still alive. I guess the majority of historical people are dead, but I have to say that they are many who have made history that are still alive. I do realize that a book can only focus on so many people, but I feel that the sampling was a little off. I give the author credit for taking notice of people in different areas of history instead of just focusing on artists, business, etc. She also gave fair samplings of both genders.

    There’s a lot of facts that are in each person’s bio that made me take notice. A fun read but with also educational value to it and in a way that doesn’t dumb down the facts but gives you the functionality of what that person did in their life to be even considered historical. The reader also gets information about people that they may not have even heard of before, or heard of in passing or from talk they overheard of their parents and/or grandparents.

    I don’t feel that the subtitle does the book justice though. These are people who are not really timeless crushes. They are people you admired for their work, bravery, mind, artistic sense, etc, but not truly crushed on. I’m still not 100% on the main title either, because Historical Heartthrobs would make it seem that the people in the book were looked at by their peers as good looking, sexual, etc but the majority weren’t.

    I recommend this to anyone looking for a fun read. I can see this book gracing people’s coffee tables, being talked about with friends and looked at for info other than the norm. This is a sharing book and I can see it spreading out, with those borrowing in turn purchasing a copy of their own.

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  • Posted January 31, 2014

    more from this reviewer


    HISTORICAL HEARTTHROBS: 50 TIMELESS CRUSHES- FROM CLEOPATRA TO CAMUS by Kelly Murphy with Hallie Fyrd is a timeless Art, Music & Photography/Performing Arts/Historical/Teen & Young Adult that both young and old alike are sure to enjoy. Very concise, informative and packed full of information and stats. From Lord Byron, Ernest Hemingway, Frederick Douglass, to the beautiful Egyptian ruler Cleopatra, Benjamin Franklin, to Wild Bill Hickok and the list goes on and on. It is educational as well as fun, with trivia, quotes, portraits, and personal profiles. A must read for history bluffs, young and old adults alike, and anyone who enjoys historical heartthrobs. A great place for young readers to learn more about history,political and military leaders as well as a few movie stars. Well done indeed!! What an enjoyable read!

    Received for an honest review from the publisher.

    RATING: 4.5


    REVIEWED BY: AprilR, Courtesy of My Book Addiction and More

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