Napoleon’s Privates

Did you know that cornflakes have a dirty secret? A secret which has destroyed my ability to be able to eat them without having it in my mind? As Tony Perrottet in his book, Napoleon’s Privates, says, “The fear of self-abuse provoked hysteria well into the early twentieth century and produced some relics still with us today: both graham crackers and Corn Flakes were invented by frenzied antimasturbation campaigner John Harvey Kellogg as nonstimulating foodstuffs to reduce sex drives of the young.”

Corn Flakes were invented to make you want to have sex less. ‘Nuff said.


Now, just the other day, I gave my History final. It went well. But I swear, it would have gone much better if we were giving an exam on this book. Napoleon’s Privates, by Tony Perrottet, is all about what you won’t learn in History class. All of the past’s dirty little secrets. I wasn’t going to buy it, actually. I had almost made up my mind about leaving it be. But then again, how many times do you come across a book like this?

This non-fiction piece exposes 2500 years of History in a way that you have never seen it before. For instance (SPOILER ALERT), the French had impotency trials. As being impotent was the only grounds for divorce back in the day, men had to actually prove that they couldn’t, um, perform.

Okay, seriously, STOP me from giving away more information.

This book was exactly what I’d expected it to be. Just completely freaky. It humanizes History’s greats, (to be professional about this review), apart from making them a bit of a laughing stock. Word to the wise: if you plan on being famous, keep your secrets under lock and key. Or they stand to get exposed years after your death.


This book is funny and well-written. It’s quirky, but the tone of the book is amusing without being sensationalized. It actually gives you a bunch of sources and everything so you can double-check the information. And it’s objective, which is something vital for a book with this kind of content. After all, if you’re not careful, something like this could come off as being political propaganda.

Bottom line: Read the damn book!

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