Books: Scoundrels and Statistics

PRINCES OF THE RENAISSANCE by Orville Prescott. 397 pages. Random House. $8.95.

"The capacity of women to love scoundrels," writes Orville Prescott, "is one of the abiding marvels of the world." Prescott may be right. In this compendium of scoundrels, he offers much evidence to prove his point. Galeazzo Sforza, for instance, was so cruel that he once had a courtier, fallen from favor, nailed up in a chest. Then, the story goes, he gleefully listened to the dying man's moans. Still, when assassins cut Sforza down at the door of a church, his...

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