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mental floss presents Forbidden Knowledge: Wickedly Smart Guide to History's Naughtiest Bits [Kindle Edition]

Editors of Mental Floss

Kindle Price: £3.49 includes VAT* & free wireless delivery via Amazon Whispernet
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Paperback £8.99  
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Book Description

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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Product Description


"A lot like that professor of yours who peppered his tests with raunchy jokes: it makes learning fun."--Newsweek


From the same evil geniuses that brought you "Condensed Knowledge" comes an adorably naughty and delightfully mischievous romp through the dark side of human nature. The brainiest team at mental floss 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, hoaxes, scandals, mob bosses, acts of revenge, cannibals and much more, all organized into bite-sized - albeit foul-tasting - lists such as: The Fascist Style Guide: Five Dictator Grooming Tips, Four Biblical Girls Gone Wild, Three Delicious Animals We Charbroiled Into Extinction, and so much more!

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 974 KB
  • Print Length: 320 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins e-books (17 Mar. 2009)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #836,924 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.6 out of 5 stars  29 reviews
31 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars mental_floss keeps me sharp 13 Dec. 2005
By John Woodson - Published on
I've been a mental_floss magazine subscriber from "the early days" and picked up "Condensed Knowledge" as well. So when I saw in a recent issue that a new book was coming, I knew I had to get it. I wasn't disappointed.

Where "Condensed Knowledge" added humor and interesting twists to what might otherwise have been mundane information, "Forbidden Knowledge" is perhaps even better because of the subject matter. There are seven chapters, one concerning each of the seven deadly sins. The material is (like the first book) both funny and informative, and the "evil" nature of the subject matter makes it all the more readable. Fortunately, even though the material is more "dark," it never gets mean-spirited or nasty.

Seems like most of the history/reference/nonfiction books I see today get a kick out of annihilating specific ideas, or persons, or companies. I'm glad "Forbidden Knowledge" covers the evil side of life without having to put a political or moral judgment on things. It's just plain facts, mixed with fun comments that makes it easier to absorb the material.

And with different writers throughout the book, the reading never gets boring. It's almost like an extended version of the magazine, which makes it well worth the price. It's great, though, that it's all-new material and not just reprints of stuff that already appeared in previous issues.

Bravo, mental_floss. Never change (unless you want to go monthly, that is). Here's my idea for a third book in the series: "Knowledge Flakes" -- with a cover like a cereal box, filled with stuff about some of the flakiest persons in history. You'd have no shortage of material there!
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Wickedly Smart Indeed... 30 Jan. 2006
By Rachel B. - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Mental_Floss Presents Forbidden Knowledge: A Wickedly Smart Guide to History's Naughtiest Bits. Wow, what a great book. This is a must have for history buffs (especially the ones who think they already know everything there is to know about history) and trivia mavens alike. Ever wondered which President was the laziest? Thought Madame Curie was as pure as the driven snow? Called Meat Loaf anything besides 'international superstar'? Forbidden Knowledge will take care of that for you. Never let anyone say "History isn't interesting!" Downside to this book: While some will be impressed with your knowledge of band frontmen who sold their souls to the devil and rulers who died of syphillis, some will find it just annoying. Don't let that keep you from reading it, just consider covering your mouth with duct tape for a few days afterwards.
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars History's best gossip 5 Jan. 2006
By Shannon - Published on
I bought this book for something light and fun... My roomates spotted it on the coffee table and I've had to wait in line to read it. You will find yourself laughing out loud and feeling thankful that there are people who went down in history that are more vain, greedy, jealous, and lazy than you! Skim it over if you don't believe me, you won't put it down.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another great read from mental_ floss 28 Nov. 2005
By Dean - Published on
I am never disappointed by the work at mental_floss. I have been a long time subscriber of the magazine and have given the book Condensed Knowledge and the trivia board game as gifts. The most recent publication Forbidden Knowledge takes an unusual look at history using the seven deadly sins to organize a unique presentation of several of the least attractive historical (and some recent)characters and events. You will find yourself laughing at the manner in which the material is presented, yet learning as you go. For example in the Pride section you read "I Want to See My Face in It: 5 World Leaders Obsessed with Their Own Images and " A Big Tower? What and Eiffel Idea! 4 Structures Built as Symbols of National Pride. Within Envy "Mom Always Liked you Best: 6 Sets of Mismatched Siblings" and Greed brings us "To the Victors Go the Soils: History's 5 most blatant land grabs". In each of the sections there are 15- 20 of these fun lists and a brief reason why they are included.
Forbidden Knowledge is a book that you can read completely in 2-3 hours or have it available whenever you have 5 minutes and simply open to any page.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect for history lovers and for those looking for a laugh 28 Nov. 2005
By Bill Appling - Published on
If you love history, this book is for you. As the title suggests, it's full of history's naughtiest bits and the way everything is presented is incredibly entertaining. Each chapter covers a different sin from the 7 Deadly Sins - great stuff on Envy, Lust, Wrath, Sloth, Gluttony, Pride and Greed. If my high school history teacher had taught all this stuff, I'm sure I'd have stayed awake and even enjoyed the class!
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