L.S. Klepp
July 25, 1997 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Three in Love: Menages a Trois From Ancient to Modern Times

Current Status
In Season
Barbara Foster, Letha Hadady, Michael Foster

We gave it a B+

Three’s company and two is downsizing. At least that’s life as seen through the six eyes of the authors of Three in Love: Menages a Trois from Ancient to Modern Times, who tell us they’ve had their own menage a trois since 1981 and have written this book — a history of threesomes — to establish a pedigree. But in spite of some sketchy psychology, they have a point — well, maybe three points. Threesomes have been overlooked when not moralistically slandered; they aren’t necessarily perverse or unstable; they turn up frequently in life and art. The book offers the familiar (Lord Nelson and the Hamiltons; Henry and June Miller and Anais Nin) and some surprises (a Communist menage for Lenin, a Nazi one for Goebbels, an Imperial Twilight one for Nehru and the Mountbattens). There’s also the occasional grating noise of a definition being stretched (the Marquis de Sade’s sex life was more menagerie than menage). It’s racy and engaging, even if you think three is still, in general, a crowd. B+

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