Historical Heartthrobs.

Author:Fleischer, Jeff
Position:Book review - Young adult review

Kelly Murphy (author); HISTORICAL HEARTTHROBS; Zest Books (Children's: Young Adult Nonfiction) 17.99 ISBN: 9781936976102

Byline: Jeff Fleischer

From villains like John Wilkes Booth to heroes like TR and Tesla, they all had that certain something.

While there have been many ways to capture the public imagination throughout history, being attractive has certainly never hurt. Some of the world's most famous figures owe their legacies at least in part to their charisma, their romantic reputation, or just their looks. For Historical Heartthrobs, Kelly Murphy has compiled profiles of fifty important historical figures who became sex symbols in their time, ranging from the obvious to the quirky to the flat-out infamous. Though aimed primarily at a teen audience, it's a fun book for any reader, with a balanced mix of historical anecdotes, romantic trivia, and witty, accessible writing.

As the introduction explains, the book focuses primarily on figures from more recent history, whose physical attractiveness could be captured by photography, or at least a painted portrait. (The few exceptions, like Cleopatra or Lord Byron, are famous at least in part for their legendary attractiveness and romantic exploits).

Murphy casts a wide net in selecting who qualifies as a heartthrob and for what reason, allowing her to mix in stories about people who have little else in common. Some, like dancer Josephine Baker or author George Sand, were famous as sex symbols, while others like Benjamin Franklin and Marie Antoinette used their charms to influence the course of history, for better or worse. The subjects even include notorious figures like actor-turned-assassin John Wilkes Booth, gangster Bugsy Siegel and filmmaker Leni Riefenstahl, who were known for...

To continue reading