Historical Heartthrobs: 50 Timeless Crushes-From Cleopatra to Camus

Historical Heartthrobs: 50 Timeless Crushes-From Cleopatra to Camus

4.3 3
by Kelly Murphy

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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

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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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Age Range:
14 - 17 Years

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