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Reviewed by Gisela Dixon for Readers' Favorite
Sex, the Illustrated History: Through Time, Religion, and Culture by John R. Gregg is an interesting historical narrative of how sex was perceived and has evolved over time in society as a whole across various cultures and nations around the world since the beginning of the earliest civilizations. In Sex, the Illustrated History, Gregg provides us with a detailed narrative and analysis of sex from the point of view of the society, culture, and religion of those respective time periods.
In Part I of the book, Gregg provides an introduction to the topic, which is then followed by various chapters on the prehistory of sex, eroticism in societies both ancient and modern, the ancient Middle East and the sexual habits and traditions in places such as Egypt, Persia, Assyria; the role of sex in ancient Greek and Roman societies, Celtic and Germanic sex, sex in Jewish and Christian cultures including the introduction of the cult of the Devil or Satan and its associations with sexual energy; the witch hunts and the hypocrisy of the organized church regarding sex in medieval times, and sex in Islam and in the Islamic cultures such as Persia. The book also takes an in-depth look at the so-called taboos of homosexuality, bisexuality, etc. in ancient times.
I enjoyed reading Sex, the Illustrated History and thought there was a lot of interesting and sometimes little known information about these ancient cultures and the role of sex in their society. In many ways, the ancient people were much more open and overt in their sexual habits and this is clearly shown through carvings, pictures, paintings, art, etc. of those times. The book contains a lot of these images which really add to the flavor of the book and complement it very well. The writing style is to the point and casual and manages to cover a lot of ground considering the breadth of the subject matter. This is a book that I enjoyed reading and would recommend to others.