The Back of the Book (from Amazon): Celibacy is a worldwide practice that is often adopted, rarely discussed. Now, in Elizabeth Abbott’s fascinating and wide-ranging history, it is examined in all its various forms: shaping religious lives, conditioning athletes and shamans, surfacing in classical poetry and camp literature, resonating in the voices of castrati, and permeating ancient mythology. Found in every society of the past, practiced by both the anonymous and the legendary (St. Catherine, Joan of Arc, Leonardo da Vinci, Elizabeth I, Gandhi), celibacy has as many stories as adherents, and Abbott weaves them into a provocative, seamless tapestry that brings history alive.
NotJustLaura’s Review: Elizabeth Abbott writes very good books. This is the second of her works which I have read and, while it was challenging, I enjoyed every moment. In it, Ms Abbott explores celibacy from Greco-Roman times to our present-day AIDS-conscious society. Religion plays a large part in the story and she shows how both major and minor religions have regarded sexuality and celibacy in different times and different places. Throughout the book, I felt Ms Abbott tried to maintain a non-judgemental tone although she closes with an Epilogue which sheds light on her own practice of celibacy.