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Casanovas: where are those great romancers of women? In Swoon, Betsy Prioleau gives us a smart, entertaining study of ladies men, demystifying their character, seductive secrets, and killer charm. Combining history, science, culture, and colorful contemporary research, Prioleau gives us a portrait of the successful seducer that explodes every stereotype and shatters every c Casanovas: where are those great romancers of women? In Swoon, Betsy Prioleau gives us a smart, entertaining study of ladies men, demystifying their character, seductive secrets, and killer charm. Combining history, science, culture, and colorful contemporary research, Prioleau gives us a portrait of the successful seducer that explodes every stereotype and shatters every clich . Instead of a satanic rake, slick player, or rich, handsome powerbroker, he's an unlikely, often homely Romeo who cares about women and understands what they want. Through analyses of history s legendary lovers and interviews with today s heartthrobs, Prioleau uncovers the surprising seductive secrets that really rock female hearts, from unfeigned ardor to conversational flair. In doing so, she destroys the pick-up artists advice of such books as The Game. Finally, Prioleau critiques the twenty-first-century sexual malaise, especially women s record discontent with men, and argues that it s high time to retrieve and celebrate the great seducer.


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Casanovas: where are those great romancers of women? In Swoon, Betsy Prioleau gives us a smart, entertaining study of ladies men, demystifying their character, seductive secrets, and killer charm. Combining history, science, culture, and colorful contemporary research, Prioleau gives us a portrait of the successful seducer that explodes every stereotype and shatters every c Casanovas: where are those great romancers of women? In Swoon, Betsy Prioleau gives us a smart, entertaining study of ladies men, demystifying their character, seductive secrets, and killer charm. Combining history, science, culture, and colorful contemporary research, Prioleau gives us a portrait of the successful seducer that explodes every stereotype and shatters every clich . Instead of a satanic rake, slick player, or rich, handsome powerbroker, he's an unlikely, often homely Romeo who cares about women and understands what they want. Through analyses of history s legendary lovers and interviews with today s heartthrobs, Prioleau uncovers the surprising seductive secrets that really rock female hearts, from unfeigned ardor to conversational flair. In doing so, she destroys the pick-up artists advice of such books as The Game. Finally, Prioleau critiques the twenty-first-century sexual malaise, especially women s record discontent with men, and argues that it s high time to retrieve and celebrate the great seducer.

30 review for Swoon: Great Seducers and Why Women Love Them

  1. 5 out of 5

    Audra (Unabridged Chick)

    I will admit, as a lesbian, I am probably not the best person to appreciate the sexual allure of men. (I did go through a phase in college in which I experimented with men, but it only lasted about two semesters and was done, in part, so I could claim that oh-so-important-when-in-college 'bi' label.) Still, as one who nurtures many a literary crush, male and female, I was drawn to this non-fiction survey of historical seducers and contemporary ladies men. Prioleau opens the book by articulating w I will admit, as a lesbian, I am probably not the best person to appreciate the sexual allure of men. (I did go through a phase in college in which I experimented with men, but it only lasted about two semesters and was done, in part, so I could claim that oh-so-important-when-in-college 'bi' label.) Still, as one who nurtures many a literary crush, male and female, I was drawn to this non-fiction survey of historical seducers and contemporary ladies men. Prioleau opens the book by articulating who a seducer -- a ladies man -- is and isn't. He isn't, thankfully, the professional Pick Up Artist (PUA), trained via offensive online courses on how put down a woman in such a way she'll consent to sex. The true ladies man, Prioleau argues, loves women, admires women, respects women. (I might also venture, based on her examples, the true ladies man is also not wired for monogamy, although some recent books on sex and evolution suggest we all aren't.) The basis of her argument comes from historical lovers of fame and good repute, supplemented by interviews with everyday ladies men (more on that bit later). From that, she builds an inventory of qualities a successful seducer possesses. By no means is this a scientific study but I found it thought-provoking and amusing. Prioleau begins many a section with 'According to studies, women prefer...' and rattles off THE attribute science says women say they want in a man: creativity, intellect, a physical or emotional impediment like a scar or crippling depression, courage, virtue, élan, etc. (All I took from these chapters is that what strikes a woman as seductive varies by the woman!) Prioleau punctuated her argument with tidbits about historical figures or quotes from romance novels. She focused on a set of historical and/or celebrity ladies men to illustrate her points -- Casanova, Byron, Liszt, Gabriele D'Annunzio, Porfirio Rubirosa, and Warren Beatty are a few -- as well as various deities and myths from around the world. She also uses real-life examples in her narrative, non-celebrity men she's somehow identified as being contemporary seducers and ladies men. I'll admit, I found all those sections super odd: she interviews some guy about why he's great with women (the reply is usually 'I don't know, I just am') and a few of his lovers (anonymously). There are sixteen pages of black and white photos of many of the seducers Prioleau mentions, which confirmed her assertion that a successful seducer need not be all that stereotypically handsome. Ultimately, what behavior one finds sexy rather than creepy is a matter of personal taste, the situation/setting, that kind of thing, so I often found some of Prioleau's examples the opposite of appealing, but just as often, she articulated why I find a historical figure just so damned dashing. This is an unabashed heterosexual survey with Western heteronormative assumptions about sex and relationships so those of you looking for a nuanced study won't find that here. But as a springboard and conversation starter -- might be a good companion book for a book club or reading group -- this one hits the mark -- I've been shoving it at people all around me and yammering about Prioleau's assertions and ideas.  Those who enjoy popular non-fiction on sex, society, and human behavior will likely dig this one!

  2. 4 out of 5

    Emma Sea

    Nice reviewer-shaming from this author. Nice reviewer-shaming from this author.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Kate Woods Walker

    Sociobabble that shores up the most outdated, 1950s thinking I've seen in quite some time, seasoned with ostentatious use of untranslated French and more than a few summaries of romance novels. The conclusion is a particularly ridiculous bit of feminist backlash. This book reads like someone took the lessons from Red Flags of Love Fraud: 10 Signs You're Dating a Sociopath and turned them on their head. Sociobabble that shores up the most outdated, 1950s thinking I've seen in quite some time, seasoned with ostentatious use of untranslated French and more than a few summaries of romance novels. The conclusion is a particularly ridiculous bit of feminist backlash. This book reads like someone took the lessons from Red Flags of Love Fraud: 10 Signs You're Dating a Sociopath and turned them on their head.

  4. 4 out of 5

    ManOfLaBook.com

    Swoon: Great Seduc­ers and Why Women Love Them by Betsy Pri­oleau is a non-fiction book which tries to ana­lyze what makes a ladies’ man. The book makes an inter­est­ing read and I only wish I would have read it when I was sin­gle and still look­ing for a mate for life. The book has bad news for us guys – being a ladies’ man can­not be learned, one has to be born with “it”. The author found out that there is no tem­plate for being a Casanova, it’s nei­ther money nor atti­tude but com­plex, and so Swoon: Great Seduc­ers and Why Women Love Them by Betsy Pri­oleau is a non-fiction book which tries to ana­lyze what makes a ladies’ man. The book makes an inter­est­ing read and I only wish I would have read it when I was sin­gle and still look­ing for a mate for life. The book has bad news for us guys – being a ladies’ man can­not be learned, one has to be born with “it”. The author found out that there is no tem­plate for being a Casanova, it’s nei­ther money nor atti­tude but com­plex, and some­times dis­tinct, personalities. Ms. Pri­oleau ana­lyzes the great lovers of our time and from ages long ago from Casanova to Ash­ton Kutcher and those who aren’t famous but get the ladies, the schmos down the street which we all scratch our bald pates in amaze­ment when­ever they get the girl (a notable excep­tion is myself – just to think I was sit­ting by the phone for hours and days wait­ing to be interviewed). The book is divided into sec­tion about Charisma, the char­ac­ters, the mind, senses and more. The author pro­vides exam­ples from his­tory, fic­tional and non-fictional peo­ple as well as famous and the not-so-famous as they per­tain to each sec­tion and/or sub­sec­tion (some swoon­ers are in more then one place). It was inter­est­ing to read how wrong the ideal “ladies man” is in the eye of soci­ety, this won­der­fully researched book shows that they are not hand­some mil­lion­aires but those who have many other qual­i­ties (beauty is not one of them), the main one being joie de vivre – a love of life, and those man sim­ply put women up on a pedestal. While I did enjoy the non-fiction part of the book, I didn’t care for the exam­ples of men from romance nov­els. While I do appre­ci­ate fic­tion of any genre I felt that a woman writ­ing about an ideal man (which might exist – but prob­a­bly not) didn’t really teach me anything. Swoon is an enjoy­able book with much to teach the men of the world about women. While the bad news is that one has to be born a ladies’ man, the good news is that we can all learn to become better. For more reviews and bookish thoughts please visit: http://www.ManOfLaBook.com

  5. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    Could've been a long article on some woman's mag - nothing earth-shattering, some fun anecdotes about types of ladies' men/Cassanova's & some interesting stats/studies on human sexuality. As with many light-weight non-fiction books - padded for the publisher, pedestrain writing and a skim-through read not worth my slogging through word for word. Could've been a long article on some woman's mag - nothing earth-shattering, some fun anecdotes about types of ladies' men/Cassanova's & some interesting stats/studies on human sexuality. As with many light-weight non-fiction books - padded for the publisher, pedestrain writing and a skim-through read not worth my slogging through word for word.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Meg - A Bookish Affair

    3.5 stars. Throughout the ages, there have been many infamous seducers. No matter what point in history you talk about, there have always been infamous ladies' men. One look and they seemingly are able to have just about any woman they want. Prioleau looks at this phenomena and uses this book as a way to try to shed some light on what makes these gentleman so irresistible. This book was definitely interesting. It was great look at what these men do to drive women wild. Unfortunately for men who 3.5 stars. Throughout the ages, there have been many infamous seducers. No matter what point in history you talk about, there have always been infamous ladies' men. One look and they seemingly are able to have just about any woman they want. Prioleau looks at this phenomena and uses this book as a way to try to shed some light on what makes these gentleman so irresistible. This book was definitely interesting. It was great look at what these men do to drive women wild. Unfortunately for men who are hoping to get some tips, the secrets to being a great seducer seem somewhat unattainable without a lot of practice or a healthy dose of natural skill. I really liked how the book was divided into different segments. Prioleau uses each segment to explore a different characteristic that could add to the success of the great seducer. He should be a good talker, a good listener, and have a litany of other characteristics in order to be a good seducer. It was really fascinating to see how Prioleau broke it down. Prioleau uses some really interesting examples. To me, some went over better than others. I was especially interested in some of the examples of famous casanovas. Prioleau also uses a lot of examples from romance novels, some of which I was not familiar with. There is not a whole lot of explanation behind the examples and therefore they were hard to understand or to see the point behind them. Overall: This an interesting sort of cultural anthropology book!

  7. 5 out of 5

    Sam

    Noped after the first chapter; I'm pretty sure my face was a combination of confused and disgusted for the small part of the book I did read. The arguments in the introduction that "real" ladies men are completely different from the stereotypical "bad" seducer were extremely flawed. Stereotypes exist for a reason, but rather than showing how the stereotypes started and individual who seem to fit them but don't, she would use an individual who doesn't seem to fit that particular stereotype at all Noped after the first chapter; I'm pretty sure my face was a combination of confused and disgusted for the small part of the book I did read. The arguments in the introduction that "real" ladies men are completely different from the stereotypical "bad" seducer were extremely flawed. Stereotypes exist for a reason, but rather than showing how the stereotypes started and individual who seem to fit them but don't, she would use an individual who doesn't seem to fit that particular stereotype at all to prove it wrong. Even if that individual fit some of the other stereotypes. I also felt like she was heaping praise on the men even when they were unfaithful, had anger management issues or emotionally abusive to the women in their life. She claims that they all made their partners happy even as she talks about the women being wildly jealous or desperately wanting to marry a man who never will. Any maybe it's just the ace in me talking, but I was still left wondering why any of the men she mentioned were attractive to women.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Anand

    Fascinating historical overview of the great lovers in history. Spanning poets, fighters, romance novel heroes, and more.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Lucy

    Some Men just Know what it takes... There’s nothing simplistic about the female brain, body and soul- intricately divine and sublimely refined, it really does take a grand master in love to figure out what makes us Venuses…Swoon! Betsy Prioleau presents us with the great seducers of all times to figure out what it is that makes some men really ‘get’ what women want. From the very beginning, even the Greek gods, moved heaven and earth for love. But by far, the grandest of all lovers in history was Some Men just Know what it takes... There’s nothing simplistic about the female brain, body and soul- intricately divine and sublimely refined, it really does take a grand master in love to figure out what makes us Venuses…Swoon! Betsy Prioleau presents us with the great seducers of all times to figure out what it is that makes some men really ‘get’ what women want. From the very beginning, even the Greek gods, moved heaven and earth for love. But by far, the grandest of all lovers in history was Giacomo Casanova. The perfect ladies’ man, Casanova captured women’s minds, their heart, their fantasies and ultimately their soul. He was genuinely interested and completely devoted to pleasing women- he understood what they needed and wanted. (Scroll down to Read Betsy's guest post on Casanova!) Betsy Prioleau’s research brings us closer to the men in history and their captivating ways. The men she describes (tons of historical figures, which include Voltaire, Gabriele D’Annunzio, the 18th c. duc de Richelieu, to name a few- and the modern ones as well- Warren Beatty, Mick Jagger and Woody Allen too!)-all of them devoted to being ladies’ men. SWOON grabs you from the very beginning. It’s everything you want to know about the great lovers in history. Definitely a sexy read, Swoon will have you admitting that yes! this really is what women want- from way back, and that there really is a recipe for love. It leads you to the realization that some things will never really change when it comes to love from a woman’s point of view. Women need and crave to be loved to the most heightened of their senses- passionately, completely yes, but a true lover knows that he’ll have to get through her mind first (but not solely)- Betsy Prioleau has a chapter on that. It’s called, Mental Intercourse…hmmm The writing is of superb and impeccable taste. Prioleau takes us through the history of love in flowing chapters that reveal what women already know and what the most intuitive men are fortunate enough to unravel. SWOON is filled with these great seducers who have mastered their art and understood the cue by becoming completely enthralled with love for their lady, their muse. I particularly enjoyed how the author takes the art of love and the historical seducers through an almost scientifc analysis- but the stuff she writes is incredibly interesting! There is nothing dry about this book- a definite page turner that will keep the facts coming as you're kept in attention by the quick pace and sharp clever writing (...guarantees a glued smile on your face;) Brilliantly researched, witty and deliciously sexy, SWOON is recommended to all aspiring seducers and the lucky women who will undoubtedly and most willingly swoon into their bliss. 5 Star -Exquisite!

  10. 5 out of 5

    Joseph Pfeffer

    Betsy Prioleau has something new, perhaps revolutionary, to say. Her only problem is she says it over and over with small variation throughout much of Swoon. Prioleau is an adocate of something she calls The Ladies Man, old-fashioned seducers like Casanova, Liszt, D'Annunzio, Aldous Huxley and a handful of others. These are men with charisma and something more. Their magical secret is that they genuinely love women and cherish them without reservation. Their only problem is they rarely, if ever, Betsy Prioleau has something new, perhaps revolutionary, to say. Her only problem is she says it over and over with small variation throughout much of Swoon. Prioleau is an adocate of something she calls The Ladies Man, old-fashioned seducers like Casanova, Liszt, D'Annunzio, Aldous Huxley and a handful of others. These are men with charisma and something more. Their magical secret is that they genuinely love women and cherish them without reservation. Their only problem is they rarely, if ever, love just one woman; it's against their nature. They are serial lovers. Prioleau isn't exactly advocating promiscuity, serial or otherwise, but she is not a great fan of fidelity either. Therein lies the book's tension, one that Prioleau does little to dispel. This may be just as well. It allows her to describe her seducers in all their glory without worrying too much about whether they are, in the long run, good or bad for women. On the other hand, there's no doubt that, if it comes down to a choice between serial charmers and boring husbands, Prioleau goes with the former. She cites many wives and mistresses of great seducers who not only put up with their infidelity, but facilitated their lovers' dalliances with other women - sometimes many other women. Prioleau has no use for earnest marital communication coaches like John Gottman, or Pickup gurus like Neil Strauss. What these two opposites have in common is that both reduce lovemaking to such arduous work it doesn't seem worth the trouble. Prioleau is closer to the writers of "He's Just Not That Into You" (the book, not the movie) and, oddly, to gay marriage advocates like Dan Savage and Andrew Sullivan. These writers keep variety and excitement uppermost in their treatment of sexuality. As Sullivan says, gay marriage has the potential not to destroy heterosexual marriage but to enhance it. The most succinct statement of Prioleau's outlook is that "libertine lovers may license a woman's own roving libido, and give her space to sample the goods." Despite the fact that Prioleau isn't much of a writer, her book is well worth reading because of its fresh ideas about an ancient topic and its wealth of references going back to the first Sumerian epic. Swoon is worth it if, even to a small extent. it liberates our inner ladies man.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Long Nguyen

    An interesting account differing from your common "seduction mastery" that you see floating about on the internet. But at its core the two do share fundamental points: don't be a boring male. Basically, the whole book condenses as follows: you can suffer just about any disadvantage as long as you're not a boring male. I believe she also has one from the female perspective, which might also be a fun read. An interesting account differing from your common "seduction mastery" that you see floating about on the internet. But at its core the two do share fundamental points: don't be a boring male. Basically, the whole book condenses as follows: you can suffer just about any disadvantage as long as you're not a boring male. I believe she also has one from the female perspective, which might also be a fun read.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Sara

    Interesting non fiction that looks at various aspects that make men great seducers. At times it felt like the author had certain themes/ men’s attributes in mind and found stories that fitted those themes

  13. 5 out of 5

    Donnell

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. An outline to help capture the valuable info: Part One: Anatomy of the Great Seducers: A. Charisma 1. Elan: Joie de vivre 2. Intensity: passion 3. Sex Drive: he’s got a strong one— 4. Love of Women 5. Androgny—i.e. a man in touch with his inner female 6. Creativity--“Professional artists and poets, studies report, ‘have more sex appeal than other people and twice as many sexual partners.” 7. Quicksilver Man—they flout authority and live on their own terms. “Many psychologists contend that superior pers An outline to help capture the valuable info: Part One: Anatomy of the Great Seducers: A. Charisma 1. Elan: Joie de vivre 2. Intensity: passion 3. Sex Drive: he’s got a strong one— 4. Love of Women 5. Androgny—i.e. a man in touch with his inner female 6. Creativity--“Professional artists and poets, studies report, ‘have more sex appeal than other people and twice as many sexual partners.” 7. Quicksilver Man—they flout authority and live on their own terms. “Many psychologists contend that superior personhood demands psychic elbow room and a defiance of established norms.” 8. Flawed Manhood—flaws “encourage approachability and generate instant glamour.” B. Character 1. Morality/Virture—“Good moral character is sexually attractive and romantically inspiring.” 2. Courage—includes psychological courage e.g. against censorship, unfairness etc. 3. Spiritual cultivation— 4. Knowledge/Intelligence— 5. Social IQ—Gets along well with others and in social situations 6. Pleasure—wants/and can sense what to do, to make a woman happy. 7. Self-Realization—self actualized; knows who he is and is comfortable with who he is. 8. Character in a new key—be a lovable man. Part Two: The Seducer’s Way: A. Lassoing Love: The Senses 1. Appearance 2. The Body Beautiful 3. Fashion and Grooming—they notice and appreciate scent. 4. Setting—“Location, location, location.”—why the cute house can be an attractor. 5. Music—in Jon’s house, radio always on and usually on the classical station. Also, “the male voice in song can be as seductive as an orchestra in full Wagnerian flight”—e.g. Il Divo and the Irish Tenors, Josh Groban. 6. Body Language and Dance 7. Sexpertise—as the Kama Sutra admits, “no instruction will be needed by those properly in love.” 8. Gifts and Wallets—including the edible gift. But remember: “The economic motive, psychiatrists explain, is the antithesis of Eros, passion displaced into ‘non-human’ rationality and calculation. That’s why Freud said: ‘wealth brings so little happiness.’” And: “the luxury rush…wears off quickly as the ‘hedonistic treadmill,’ the tendency for material upgrades to wane over time, takes hold.” B. Lassoing Love: The Mind 1. The Royal Rush—woman may need “displays of avid desire for peak efficiency.” 2. The Wine of Praise 3. Soul Meld/Intimacy—“’The desire for intimacy…propels the story line of soap operas.’” But remember: “Vibrant, sexy intimacy maintains the tension between attachment and separation, togetherness and privacy, and preserves self-differentiation.” Also, with Carl Jung: “the story of his life was that of his inner experiences.” C. Locking in Love 1. Conversation—many women yearn, as Maureen Dowd says, “to be in a relationship with a guy they can seriously talk to.” “Great communicators fantail empathy, humor, brains, psychological health, and social aptitude and suborn women away from the mute studs.” But not “solo flights of glittering oratory” rather “a dialogue that resembles a complex, erotic pas de deux.” 2. Unspoken Eloquence: Gesture, Voice, Listening 3. Conversational Balm—talk in the slow groove. Soothing words when needed. 4. Laughter 5. Mental Intercourse 6. The Poetry Potion D. Touching Up Love 1. Fun/Festivity 2. Novelty/Curiosity—keep it new or its through 3. Cut and Thrust—Love is a refined and delicate form of combat 4. Inexhaustible Self hood—when self improvement stops, love stops. Also, women want: “Someone who will enlarge our world, expand life’s possibilities, and make us more than the sum of our parts.” E. The Great Seducer Now 1. The [Present] Romantic Landscape—Gone are the old rituals and rules. “But a hyper sexualized culture hasn’t put us in the mood for love either.” According to commentators including Dowd: “The sixties’ sexual optimism …has curdled into bitterness and disillusion, and ushered in an age of irony and discontent, and lukewarm, melancholy marriages.” 2. Estranged Men 3. Estranged Women 4. Imagining a Neo–Ladies’ Man—“In a University of Louisville survey, three-fourths of women would choose a teacher with short workdays over a surgeon with eight times his salary.” 5. A Neo-Ladies Man: The Reality—Recent research: High amorous aspirations leads to higher quality relationships. 6. Selling Men on the Ladies’ Man— 7. The Making of a Ladies’ Man— 8. The Making of a Neo-Ladies’ Man—Begin with men who love women and are not afraid to change for the better; remove biases, misinformation and prejudice (e.g. the ladies-man type has generally been scorned by other men.) But no matter the lessons, you still need “that whoosh of charisma” which can’t be taught. So the best way: show men the path but let them find their own way down it.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Andrea Guy

    This book was about the anatomy of the "ladies man" Besty gave examples from just about ever arena and time span as well as popular fiction and romance. The biggest draw of the books were the snippets about the real life ladies men, be they the well known ones or the more down to earth ones she interviewed for the book. The one thing that I took away from this book was that there really is no formula for what makes a ladies man. Sure there are a lot of traits that these guys could have, but it doe This book was about the anatomy of the "ladies man" Besty gave examples from just about ever arena and time span as well as popular fiction and romance. The biggest draw of the books were the snippets about the real life ladies men, be they the well known ones or the more down to earth ones she interviewed for the book. The one thing that I took away from this book was that there really is no formula for what makes a ladies man. Sure there are a lot of traits that these guys could have, but it doesn't necessarily fit the bill for the next guy that makes us all "Swoon." Truth be told, I felt sorry for the women that get swept up by these guys. As you read the stories of the many "Casanovas" in this book, you see trails of women that left their husbands and families to be with these men, and it wasn't necessarily forever. Some returned to these men years later when they were on their death bed, to show their love to their former lover. Yikes. Perhaps this book should be used as a guide for women to know how to avoid these men, because, yes, they know how to treat a woman to get them into bed but overall you see a trail of women that are left. I'm not sure that's what I want in a man. Or perhaps they are the men of the here and now and not the forever. Betsy sites many historical figures like composer Franz List, Ben Franklin and more contemporary figures like Jack Nicholson, Bill Clinton and Hugh Jackman (though his ladies man label is in question). Personally I don't see Hugh that way. He's much too nice, where as you read more about the other men in question, they are all charm and sex but they aren't in for the long haul, they are in for the love and when they find a stronger pull somewhere else they are gone, or they take on mistresses. This also doesn't paint a good picture of women, because we still fall for these guys? Why? The charm? The talking, the way they make women feel? It is all that and more. Because the one thing I took away from reading this book is that the ladies man makes the woman he's focusing on feel like she's the most important person in the whole world to him. And really, who doesn't want someone to feel that way about them? It is shame that that feeling is fleeting or worse still, it is felt for other women too. This was an interesting read. I enjoyed seeing which Casanovas the author chose to share with us. I was actually surprised that she didn't choose to show Albert Einstein, who was another odd ladies man. Proof that some of the men that really attract women aren't gorgeous, like Hugh Jackman or Johnny Depp. I think I would have enjoyed the book more if it had really been more stories about these ladies men, rather than snippets that categorized them by certain traits.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Renee

    In Swoon, Prioleau examines what makes a Lothario tick. What are his facets? Why do women find him irresistible? Is there a magic equation for being a ladies man? The answer seems to be that instead of one set formula there are a host of ways in which a ladies man can arise. A man need not even be physically attractive, so long as he has other attributes (the gift of gab, attentiveness, intelligence, humor, etc.). Prioleau peppers her narrative with anecdotes from history, literature, and mythol In Swoon, Prioleau examines what makes a Lothario tick. What are his facets? Why do women find him irresistible? Is there a magic equation for being a ladies man? The answer seems to be that instead of one set formula there are a host of ways in which a ladies man can arise. A man need not even be physically attractive, so long as he has other attributes (the gift of gab, attentiveness, intelligence, humor, etc.). Prioleau peppers her narrative with anecdotes from history, literature, and mythology. Many men are mentioned only briefly, but are interesting despite being little-known characters. She spends a great deal of time on Casanova (understandably), notably pianist Franz Liszt, and the odd poet Gabriele D'Annunzio (I guess you really had to meet him to understand the fuss). Almost right off the bat, Prioleau makes a distinction between the "players" of today (who use a plethora of tricks learned from other "players" merely to get into bed with as many women as possible) and the true ladies men (who use no tricks, but genuinely just love women and through some combination of characteristics are loved en masse by them). I suppose if one has to choose between the two, it would be better to be wooed for years before being dropped for the next woman, rather than being dropped the morning after an encounter a la "player" style. In the end however, while the two types may be fundamentally different, the results of encountering and falling for either seem to be the same - a string of broken hearts. Prioleau's book is solidly researched and entertaining. I will make a point to visit Seductress the book she published some years prior, discussing the female Casanovas of the world.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Angelc

    This book was different than I expected it to be. I normally enjoy this type of non-fiction because I enjoy reading about all of the historical figures and their outlandish storeis. While there are definitely historical ladies' men mentioned and referenced, this was more a book about how to spot and celebrate the different "types" of seducers. I guess I thought it was going to be more fun to read about these ladies' men, but it really wasn't. I felt like the book was celebrating a less than stell This book was different than I expected it to be. I normally enjoy this type of non-fiction because I enjoy reading about all of the historical figures and their outlandish storeis. While there are definitely historical ladies' men mentioned and referenced, this was more a book about how to spot and celebrate the different "types" of seducers. I guess I thought it was going to be more fun to read about these ladies' men, but it really wasn't. I felt like the book was celebrating a less than stellar type of guy, and how he is great for women. Yes, it's nice that this type of man really does seem to love women, but still the lack of monogamy isn't something to celebrate for me. I think if the book had been in a different format, I may have liked it better. Maybe if each of the men referenced had their own chapter or section devoted to their story, instead of each stereotype of seducer having its own chapter. While this non-fiction book wasn't for me, other readers may enjoy reading about the different types of men that have made certain women swoon in the distant and not so distant past. book sent by publicist and publisher in exchange for honest review reviewed for http://inthehammockblog.blogspot.com

  17. 5 out of 5

    Nm Mur

    Although Prioleau promised to unearth the tantalizing cartography of the archetypal seducer, she invariably falls flat, amid a sea of florid prose that was more reminiscent of a romance novel then a serious cultural exploration of “what women want”. Without a doubt several of her historical subjects such as Richelieu and even David Niven were probably the strongest portions of the book, but when she decided to interview the modern equivalent of supposed modern seducers she could barely animate t Although Prioleau promised to unearth the tantalizing cartography of the archetypal seducer, she invariably falls flat, amid a sea of florid prose that was more reminiscent of a romance novel then a serious cultural exploration of “what women want”. Without a doubt several of her historical subjects such as Richelieu and even David Niven were probably the strongest portions of the book, but when she decided to interview the modern equivalent of supposed modern seducers she could barely animate them into these wondrous seductive fascinators that women flocked to in droves. In addition, her strong reliance of evolutionary psychological exploration also seemed to weigh her book down without any contrast to more recent research on the cultural evolution of gender and mating. In the end, Prioleau freely admits that there is no real template to becoming the penultimate seducer. And that all of the lures (laughter, food, etc) that get women excited, are often fueled by the tantalizing little thing called charisma which can’t really be taught or mimicked. The rest of the mechanical devices that Prioleau halfheartedly explores, to making women swoon, are often by chance, and of course on who the woman ultimately chooses to bestow her favors.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Adriana

    Has anyone else ever noticed that the most famous of “ladies men” tend to not be particularly handsome? Why, then, are they so popular with women? Prioleau does a wonderful job of answering that question. Using the most famous of those swoon worthy men that drew women like honey does bees, she goes into the psychological and behavioral aspects that allowed them to show themselves in a way that made women forget their physical attributes. Well researched and laid out, with stories and anecdotes lai Has anyone else ever noticed that the most famous of “ladies men” tend to not be particularly handsome? Why, then, are they so popular with women? Prioleau does a wonderful job of answering that question. Using the most famous of those swoon worthy men that drew women like honey does bees, she goes into the psychological and behavioral aspects that allowed them to show themselves in a way that made women forget their physical attributes. Well researched and laid out, with stories and anecdotes laid out in such a way that the writing flows with information without becoming boring or textbook-like. It might even be considered a guide for gentlemen looking to up their game when it comes to women. Though, from what I’ve learned from Prioleau, it looks that you have to born with it. I really enjoyed this book. I’d definitely recommend it, if not for the interesting research on what makes a man “swoon worthy” then at least for all the gossip and juicy stories that surround their lives. Mandatory side note: I got my copy thru First Reads.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Ashley

    I received a copy of this book through the First Reads program. Swoon was a disappointment for me overall. It was a classic case of a book with a good idea but poor execution. The book relies heavily on outdated, oddly anti-feminist ideas about what women want, what they are capable of, and how they best interact with men. Men who seduce are idealized, while women who seduce are presented as trashy. There is also the problem of the heteronormativity of the book -- has no man ever seduced another I received a copy of this book through the First Reads program. Swoon was a disappointment for me overall. It was a classic case of a book with a good idea but poor execution. The book relies heavily on outdated, oddly anti-feminist ideas about what women want, what they are capable of, and how they best interact with men. Men who seduce are idealized, while women who seduce are presented as trashy. There is also the problem of the heteronormativity of the book -- has no man ever seduced another man? What about the men in the book who had bisexual experiences -- why were they ignored? In the end, the ideas in the book were too dated for Swoon to be the fun, lighthearted read I was expecting. It's too easy a book to poke holes into, even if you're not setting out to try for that.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Shan

    It felt like a chore every time I picked this up, which is not, I think, how you're supposed to feel about a book detailing the adventures of ladies' men throughout history. It's riddled with typos (not the author's fault, I know), repetitive (I should have counted the number of times Dionysus was mentioned, or that someone said the phrase "He just loves women!"), and I almost walked away twenty pages from the end when Prioleau mentioned some literary women who wrote their great works "under the It felt like a chore every time I picked this up, which is not, I think, how you're supposed to feel about a book detailing the adventures of ladies' men throughout history. It's riddled with typos (not the author's fault, I know), repetitive (I should have counted the number of times Dionysus was mentioned, or that someone said the phrase "He just loves women!"), and I almost walked away twenty pages from the end when Prioleau mentioned some literary women who wrote their great works "under the aegis" of the Casanovas they were involved with at the time. Is this a bad book? Not at all. Did I enjoy it? Not really. Perhaps this is the reader's equivalent of "it's not you, it's me."

  21. 5 out of 5

    Christine Thomas

    A woman walks down a grocery store aisle, and a man stops in his tracks and stares. She — and you — might never think of this fleeting encounter in the same way after reading Betsy Prioleau’s Swoon: Great Seducers and Why Women Love Them, a witty and well-researched investigation into the true nature of the ladies’ man. Instead, up rise visions of Prince Aly Khan staring uninterrupted at a would-be love during an Ascot horserace or bullfighter Juan Belmonte pursuing women with the same intensity A woman walks down a grocery store aisle, and a man stops in his tracks and stares. She — and you — might never think of this fleeting encounter in the same way after reading Betsy Prioleau’s Swoon: Great Seducers and Why Women Love Them, a witty and well-researched investigation into the true nature of the ladies’ man. Instead, up rise visions of Prince Aly Khan staring uninterrupted at a would-be love during an Ascot horserace or bullfighter Juan Belmonte pursuing women with the same intensity he deployed to conquer bulls. There’s no shortage of examples, past and present, that Prioleau draws upon to let these seductive men have their say. Read more [email protected] http://literarylotus.com/2013/02/27/b...

  22. 5 out of 5

    Blusse Templeton

    A good "introductory" read for men who are searching to find out what women really want when it comes to the art of seduction. I enjoyed reading this book. It was informative in regards to the current and past history of "great seducers" and the societal circumstances that shaped and still do shape a woman's desire to be loved. The author gave insightful clues and road maps into what women really want. This should be mandatory "introductory" reading for men who wish to understand "some" of women A good "introductory" read for men who are searching to find out what women really want when it comes to the art of seduction. I enjoyed reading this book. It was informative in regards to the current and past history of "great seducers" and the societal circumstances that shaped and still do shape a woman's desire to be loved. The author gave insightful clues and road maps into what women really want. This should be mandatory "introductory" reading for men who wish to understand "some" of women's thought processes in regards to choosing a lover. This book shapes a complete symmetry of what I myself have experienced. If not, I would be very quick to give this book a poor rating. "...the adulterer's art should be the husbands' art..." - from Swoon

  23. 4 out of 5

    Douglas

    While reading about these "great" men I found myself thinking about our current election. Obviously man and woman relationships are still a source of confusion and contradictions. The author reviews different traits a man might have that adds to his appeal. Then discusses examples in mythology, history, literature and modern times. My only problem with her approach is she also tries to tie Darwin and natural selection to her subject. I find this a stretch, and can't believe millions of years of ev While reading about these "great" men I found myself thinking about our current election. Obviously man and woman relationships are still a source of confusion and contradictions. The author reviews different traits a man might have that adds to his appeal. Then discusses examples in mythology, history, literature and modern times. My only problem with her approach is she also tries to tie Darwin and natural selection to her subject. I find this a stretch, and can't believe millions of years of evolution were influenced by things like whether your suitor had a good sense of humor or not. People continued to multiply. Still a good intelligent book on a rare subject.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Betsy Hover

    I was delighted to receive this book as Goodreads giveaway! The author, Betsy Prioleau, takes the reader on an exploration thru history to break-down and process the myths of Legendary Ladies man. She indicates that these types of men are a different, complex species altogether, often without looks or money. They fit no known template and possess a cache of powerful erotic secrets. She reveals thru history, the identity of these master lovers and the arts they practiced to en-swoon women. This wa I was delighted to receive this book as Goodreads giveaway! The author, Betsy Prioleau, takes the reader on an exploration thru history to break-down and process the myths of Legendary Ladies man. She indicates that these types of men are a different, complex species altogether, often without looks or money. They fit no known template and possess a cache of powerful erotic secrets. She reveals thru history, the identity of these master lovers and the arts they practiced to en-swoon women. This was a great book.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Anthony

    This well-researched and poorly constructed book is a scatter-brained look at the Don Juans and Casanovas of the world. Veering from historical anecdote, to modern chats with ladies men's, and also fictional examples that are strangely as likely to be from some classic novel as from a romance novel (and sometimes from movies and celebrity gossip) , the author swerves crazily across different contexts and centuries, almost every page. It feels like being taken on a long journey by an overly chatt This well-researched and poorly constructed book is a scatter-brained look at the Don Juans and Casanovas of the world. Veering from historical anecdote, to modern chats with ladies men's, and also fictional examples that are strangely as likely to be from some classic novel as from a romance novel (and sometimes from movies and celebrity gossip) , the author swerves crazily across different contexts and centuries, almost every page. It feels like being taken on a long journey by an overly chatty but well-read drunk driver with ADHD.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Kris Cram

    I was excited to win this book through Goodreads First Reads, but it wasn't what I was expecting. The author writes about both seducers throughout history as well as modern seducers. I had a hard time sitting down and reading this book. I put it down and read another book many times before I actually finished the book. I was excited to win this book through Goodreads First Reads, but it wasn't what I was expecting. The author writes about both seducers throughout history as well as modern seducers. I had a hard time sitting down and reading this book. I put it down and read another book many times before I actually finished the book.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Patricia

    Not bad for a non-fiction read but not as entertaining as I hoped. The chapters seemed intent on mentioning in brief as many men/details as possible without getting into the meat of any too deeply. I did enjoy laughing at some of the prose and the quotes, but overall this book just didn't do it for me. Not bad for a non-fiction read but not as entertaining as I hoped. The chapters seemed intent on mentioning in brief as many men/details as possible without getting into the meat of any too deeply. I did enjoy laughing at some of the prose and the quotes, but overall this book just didn't do it for me.

  28. 5 out of 5

    CLM

    Great fun! Entertaining to read cover to cover or to sample a chapter at a time. For more and to enter to win a copy of Swoon: http://perfectretort.blogspot.com/201... Great fun! Entertaining to read cover to cover or to sample a chapter at a time. For more and to enter to win a copy of Swoon: http://perfectretort.blogspot.com/201...

  29. 5 out of 5

    Anna

    This was a goodreads giveaway that I won. I love romance, so why not read about the great seducers!?! It's fun, witty, and gives you a whole new look at the 'casanova' kind of men. I enjoyed it. I think no matter how much time passes, there will be men to SWOON over. This was a goodreads giveaway that I won. I love romance, so why not read about the great seducers!?! It's fun, witty, and gives you a whole new look at the 'casanova' kind of men. I enjoyed it. I think no matter how much time passes, there will be men to SWOON over.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Jorge Rodriguez

    Very thorough work, has the depth and dizzying amount of sources of a scientific tome. A bit difficult to read at times due to its depth, and from being inundated in examples from romantic novels. Nevertheless, it's a good read and I'm glad to have stuck with it to the end. Very thorough work, has the depth and dizzying amount of sources of a scientific tome. A bit difficult to read at times due to its depth, and from being inundated in examples from romantic novels. Nevertheless, it's a good read and I'm glad to have stuck with it to the end.

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