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In this exciting and provocative book, Irving Wallace, one of America's most famous novelists, turns to nonfiction to tell the candid stories of more than thirty women of the last two centuries who defied the social standards of their times—sexually, politically, intellectually—rebelling against conventional behavior or ideas to go their own ways.

These ladies, by intention or unwittingly, gave succeeding generations of women new freedoms—freedoms the very mention of which scandalized their contemporaries but which led, ultimately, to today's Women's Liberation Movement.

With a gift of narrative rare in nonfiction, Irving Wallace describes the lives of Ninon de Lencios, who founded a School of Lovemaking in France; of Emma Hamilton, who became pregnant by England's greatest naval hero without her husband's noticing it; of Napoleon's sister, Pauline Bonaparte, whose intense sexual activity was the despair of her gynecologist; of Napoleon's mistress, Maria Walewska, who was asked to sacrifice her virtue to the Emperor to save Poland from his wrath... Perhaps nobody has ever done such justice to Lord Byron's reckless females—among them, the sensuous Teresa Guiccioli, who left her titled husband for Byron, the unhappy Caroline Lamb, who pursued Byron with such passion as to nearly drive him and her husband mad, and the unfortunate Claire Clairmont who gave Byron both a daughter and a hellish time.

Certainly no one has ever written so entertainingly about such extraordinary tales as Victoria Woodhull, who ran for president of the United States in 1872 on a platform advocating free love, short skirts, vegetarianism, birth control, and world government (she also made a fortune as the first lady stockbroker, with the backing of her good friend Commodore Vanderbilt), or Lady Jane Eleenborough, who enjoyed thirty-six renowned lovers (three of them kings) and four husbands (the last an Arab sheik).

The Nympho and Other Maniacs is a magnificent tour de force, a book that goes far beyond the amusing and incredible adventures of the uninhibited ladies themselves to make some wise and unexpected points about life, love, marriage, and women.