Friday, April 23, 2010

Forgotten Books: The Secret Museum of Mankind


Some books are best forgotten, but this one was so heavily advertised in the pulp mags of the 30s that I thought it I would be fun to take a squint at. So I looked it up in WorldCat, and was amazed to see that at least a couple of hundred libraries in the U.S. admit to owning a copy. Even more astonishing, I found it was reprinted in 1999 and is available from Amazon. Luckily, I didn't bite. I got mine from the library.

Some of the claims in the ads are true. Yes, each page is actually 57 square inches in size, which sounds pretty impressive until you realize that each page of People Magazine is 76 square inches. And it does appear to have at least 1000 photographs (though not all of them are revealing, or even decipherable without the captions).  As the large ad implies and the smaller one brags, there is some partial nudity, but only in a small percentage of the pics. They make National Geographic look like Playboy.

The real whopper, of course, is the headline screaming FEMALE BEAUTY ROUND THE WORLD. There are indeed females here, but if this is beauty, I'm staying home.


Find links to more Forgotten Books (if you dare) at Patti Abbott's pattinase.

11 comments:

pattinase (abbott) said...

I bet my library doesn't have it!

Laurie Powers said...

Dang, I should have bought one of these when I had the chance back in 1920. I do have to say that the one thing that always creeped me out were the people that made their lips look like dinner plates.

Chris said...

Ha! This is great.

George said...

You come up with the most bizarre books! Love it!

Richard R. said...

I didn't click on any. This seems to be a book better left forgotten, if indeed it was ever "remembered" other than the ad. I'll bet there were an awful lot of people (young boys?) who were sorely disappointed when they received their copy.

Todd Mason said...

Or, Why We Are Loved Around the World!

Richard Prosch said...

The "Notorious Straw Boys" sounds like an existential 1990's Vertigo comic book by Grant Morrison or Neil Gaiman. Hmmm...now that I think about it...it might've been!

Deka Black said...

I have no words. really. Only three words what i will not use here, but... you can imagine which are

Evan Lewis said...

Obviously some folks have been less than amused by this book. I did find it amusing, but mainly as a look at U.S. arrogance as it was 90 years ago. We're still arrogant, of course, but I like to think we've mellowed a bit. And while I find some of these costumes and practices to be pretty strange, they're no goofier than things going on every day right here in the USofA. "People are funny," a wise man named Linkletter once said, and I'm glad that's true.

Cap'n Bob Napier said...

I'll bet it's better if you view it with your X-Ray Specs.

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