mental floss presents Forbidden Knowledge: A Wickedly Smart Guide to History's Naughtiest Bits

mental floss presents Forbidden Knowledge: A Wickedly Smart Guide to History's Naughtiest Bits

Language: English

Pages: 320

ISBN: 006078475X

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


Think of anything bad, from art heists to Genghis Kahn, and it's likely to be included in this wickedly smart and humorous guide to the seedy underbelly of basically everything. The brainiac team at "mental_floss", creators of the hit magazine and last year's Condensed Knowledge, have scoured the darkest, dirtiest corners of history and the globe to gather this ultimate collection of the bad stuff you're not supposed to know and you certainly never learned in school.

Organized by theme, with chapters for each of the seven deadly sins, the book includes feuds, plagiarists, hoaxes, lies, schemes, scandals, evil dictators, mob bosses, acts of revenge, angry queens, cannibals and much more, all organized into bite-sized—albeit foul-tasting—lists (i.e."The Fascist Style Guide: Five Dictator Grooming Tips", “Four Biblical Girls Gone Wild" and “Three Delicious Animals We Charbroiled Into Extinction."). It's the perfect way to add some spice to a dull conversation and proves that learning can be not only easy, but exquisitely sinful.

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UIFJS XFUCSBJOTNBEFTPNFHSFBUKPLFT _01:: W. C. Fields (1880–1946) and dogs can’t be all bad”) and his ostentatious Of all the alcoholic comedians, the bulbous- immorality (he claimed to religiously study the nosed W. C. Fields (né William Claude Duken- Bible—in search of loopholes), Fields is proba- field) was by far the least embarrassed by his bly best known for his drinking. At his peak, indulgence. Fields started his career as a jug- Fields downed two quarts of gin daily. “I like

himself, and generally found it easier peace and tranquility after a bitter civil war. to put them off. And sure, this governing-by- 4MPUI <> procrastination strategy worked just fine when all administrative duties. Historians of the Ot- England was at peace, but not so well when it toman Empire often mark the beginning of its was attacked from abroad, which is exactly decline from his completely useless reign. what happened in 1009, when Sweyn Fork- beard and his Danish Vikings

get your mail; bus bound to be a few bad apples, right? But Alex- drivers pay cops to let them drive their routes; ander VI (reigned 1492–1503) was the baddest victims of crime have to pay the cops to have apple of ’em all. A member of the Spanish someone arrested; doctors take bribes to dis- branch of the powerful and corrupt Borgia pense medicine; even meter readers get their family, Alexander bought and bribed his way palms greased for keeping energy bills low. It’s onto the papal

the best ruler, either. He went on to a rival, Aristides. Unfortunately for Themisto- reign of terror, killing anyone he perceived as a cles, allegations of political corruption led to threat, including most of his surviving rela- his exile in the late 470s BCE, and the architect tives. Of course, it all caught up with him in of Greek victory over the Persians died in Asia the end. Nero was eventually overthrown, de- Minor . . . living off a Persian government sti- clared a public

UIFZDPVMEHPCBDLGPSSPVOEUXP the population, all seated on marble benches, covered with cushions and protected from the elements by canopies. There, gladiators and _04:: The Fashion political prisoners fought with people or ani- Amazingly, the Romans weren’t always so fond mals to the death. And as the audiences got of excess. Prior to the dawn of the empire, the bored, organizers were forced to find new Romans were a frugal people and actually sources of entertainment. For instance,

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