By Richard Zacks

(Anchor, $15.95)

Go take a look inside...

--The long forgotten Edison/Muybridge Nudes. Come see brief movie clips..
--Strange research: French scientists for almost two centuries tested freshly severed heads to find out if the guillotine was more humane than hanging. Did the brain live on in agony?
--The Pope and Cocaine. Cocaine was legal, unregulated and easily available in the U.S. and all over Europe through the 1800s. Want to see an endorsement the Vatican might want to forget?
--Double Your Pleasure? Double Your Fun? French doctors in the 1860's studied a man with two penises. (A tease, more than a taste, I must admit.)
 --The "Dr. Spock" of pre-Civil War America had some unusual advice for expectant mothers who wanted to guarantee a good breast-feeding experience.
--Check out this genuinely medieval approach to treating mental illness.

--Many think of Gynecology as a modern science. Think again. Take a look at a 1st century A.D. Roman speculum--a device used to part the vaginal lips to facilitate deep viewing.

FYI. "An Underground Education" covers many topics in detail from forgotten criminals to the profit motive of the Inquisition. It aims to make you look again at dozens of topics you thought you knew a lot about. And, yes, it's crammed with the risque and the bizarre. Basically I got tired of history books, textbooks, encyclopedias always telling me the obvious stuff. Sure, Britannica informed me about Napoleon's career but did it mention the general's hemorrhoids flaring up at Waterloo or on Edison, did it reveal Edison's secret role in developing the electric chair? Nope.

...When I wrote about law, I wrote about sex-with-animal cases; when I wrote about religion, I wrote about Brigham Young's seduction techniques and Pope Alexander VI's mistresses; when I wrote about Everyday Life, I wrote about cod pieces and underwear; my medicine section spotlights enemas (sex in some people's world). You get the idea. And any of you 65,000 people who bought "History Laid Bare", I can tell you there is almost no overlap at all, except for Catherine the Great, and this time you get two pictures of her as well.

A parting note about photos: My publisher for first book, "History Laid Bare" didn't allow me any photos. Doubleday--bless its heart--has allowed me close to 200.

Here's a list of my favorite sex/nude photos/drawings in the book. (Chinese penis duel, Greek prostitute with dildo, Brigham Young's wives, hermaphrodite, Russian eunuch, Portuguese man with two penises, French women modelling enema apparatus, etc.)

Press the cover to go to Zacks's next book, "The Pirate Hunter".