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Badass: The Birth of a Legend: Spine-Crushing Tales of the Most Merciless Gods, Monsters, Heroes, Villains, and Mythical Creatures Ever Envisioned Paperback – March 15, 2011


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Badass: The Birth of a Legend: Spine-Crushing Tales of the Most Merciless Gods, Monsters, Heroes, Villains, and Mythical Creatures Ever Envisioned + Badass: A Relentless Onslaught of the Toughest Warlords, Vikings, Samurai, Pirates, Gunfighters, and Military Commanders to Ever Live + Badass: Ultimate Deathmatch: Skull-Crushing True Stories of the Most Hardcore Duels, Showdowns, Fistfights, Last Stands, Suicide Charges, and Military Engagements of All Time
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial (March 15, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062001353
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062001351
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 5.9 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #119,959 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In his first book, Badass, Thompson, creator of the Web site badassoftheweek.com, focused on warlords, samurai, pirates, and gunfighters who actually existed; in this follow-up, he turns to mythological badasses throughout history. From Anubis and Zeus to Capt. James T. Kirk and Godzilla, Thompson delivers detailed and adrenaline-fueled screeds on 40 characters "whose stories of ball-crushing conquest are still awesome enough to make even the tamest readers want to snatch up a sword and go hunting for dragon meat." Subjects include El Chupacabra ("this freakadelic ass-reaming spawn of Satan"); Diomedes ("the wanton slaughter of faceless jobbers is just the beginning of awesomeness"); and, in a long-overdue tribute, the Daleks from Doctor Who ("these murderous, automated salt-shakers are vile constructs of pure evil"). Fortunately, the book includes badass women as well as men, and Thompson's overheated prose rises even further when describing the Indian goddess Kali: "When she's not consuming the entrails of the gods, getting drunk on human blood, performing her Dance of Annihilation... she shoots blood out of her mouth like a fire hose... she's pretty much the most totally metal being ever." (Mar.)
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

From the Back Cover

From sex-crazed gods to ravenous monsters, Ben Thompson brings legendary titans to life in tales of adventure, bloodlust, and unrelenting badassitude.

Since the beginning of human history people have created myths, tall tales, superheroes, and arch-villains—men and women who embarked on insane adventures, performed extraordinary feats of unparalleled awesomeness, and overcame all odds to violently smite their foes into bloody pulp. In Badass: The Birth of a Legend, Ben Thompson compiles these fantastical tales from the beginning of time to today and tells them in the completely over-the-top manner in which they were intended, including:

Rama
The Indian god-king who led an army of monkeys against the King of All Demons

Thor
The Viking god of thunder and awesome hair, who crushed the skulls of giants with a ridiculously huge hammer

Beowulf
An Anglo-Saxon hero so hardcore he could arm-wrestle monsters' joints out of their sockets

Moby-Dick
The hate-filled literary behemoth who obliterated ship hulls with his face

Skuld
The Norse necromancer queen who summoned a horde of zombie berserkers

Dirty Harry Callahan
The prototypical modern-day antihero and very embodiment of badass


More About the Author

Ben Thompson is the writer and creator of badassoftheweek.com and author of the books Badass Badass: Birth of a Legend, and Badass: Ultimate Deathmatch. He has written articles for Cracked, Fangoria, Penthouse, and The American Mustache Institute, was once selected "Seattle's Sexiest Dungeon Master" by a local newspaper, and can occasionally beat the Star Wars: The Original Trilogy arcade game with one quarter.

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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His wit and humor make reading the book very entertaining.
Goon
I recommend this book to anyone who likes history, mythology, or is trying to teach unwilling high school kids the fore mentioned topics.
Myst Runner
I got the first book from this writer and will in enjoy reading this book too!!!
Larry Arellano

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

31 of 37 people found the following review helpful By J. Hoch on April 4, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As a student of awesomely hilarious accounts of historical and mythological hijinks, I was one of the first in line when Badass: The Birth of a Legend was released. I immediately skipped out on work to read it. Unfortunately, right at that moment I was attacked by ninjas. Shurikens to the left of me, katanas to the right, I jumped up and ran like the wind. The ninjas pursued, but I turned a corner and was face to face with a clan of Norwegian berserkers! Before I could pray to Krom for help, I was caught in an epic showdown between these legendary warrior classes. I thought to myself, "what would author, Ben Thompson, do in this situation?" I thus sat down and started taking notes on the expletives uttered by the various battlers when they were kicked in the sternums, the ribcage, the stomach and the buttocks. Suddenly, a maurading band of pygmy warriors appeared in the melee. I shielded myself from their poison blow-darts with the book. I was the sole survivor of that terrifying ordeal.

With my life newly saved, I returned home with my treasured book, Badass: The Birth of a Legend, and despite the pinhole from the darts and the stains from the poison, that book sits in a place of honor upon the tank of my toilet. I read selections from it every time I poop.
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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Chris La Tray on March 20, 2011
Format: Paperback
One of my favorite books of 2009 was Badass -- A Relentless Onslaught of the Toughest Warlords, Vikings, Samurai, Pirates, Gunfighters, and Military Commanders to Ever Live by Ben Thompson. While this site isn't technically a "review" site I still review the occasional thing that catches my attention, and I reviewed the hell out of this book because I loved it. So when I received an email from the Marketing Coordinator at HarperCollins offering me an advanced review copy of Ben's latest, Badass: The Birth of a Legend -- Spine-Crushing Tales of the Most Merciless Gods, Monsters, Heroes, Villains, and Mythical Creatures Ever Envisioned, you know I friggin' jumped at the opportunity!

What Thompson has delivered this time around is an object of almost literary perfection.

Here's the book description from the publisher:
_________________________

Since the beginning of human history people have created myths, tall tales, superheroes, and arch-villains--men and women who embarked on insane adventures, performed extraordinary feats of unparalleled awesomeness, and overcame all odds to violently smite their foes into bloody pulp.
Read more ›
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Altjungr on May 2, 2011
Format: Paperback
This is absolutely not a book intended for the serious student of mythology. One can hardly expect to understand the totality of intricacies of the characters presented in the 40 short vignette. However, this book does have many important redeeming qualities.

This book has the potential to get an otherwise uninterested reader excited about mythology. This is interesting in the sense that the book seems to be merely a vehicle for the author's comedy. I often found myself laughing at some of his more obscure references which had little to do with the character being described. However, it is a very easy book to dip into a little at a time and by placing modern myths from movies and video games next to ancient gods and heroes goads the reader to bring the same level of inquiry to them both. While the myths that he discusses (which I am familiar with) are generally accurate, the author is uncompromising in the way that he retells the stories with flamboyant and attention grabbing language. This makes him an excellent storyteller as he has to compete with television and other media that increasingly caters to the attention deficit among us. It was fun read for me as well seeing how an academic outsider reacts to many of the outlandish elements (when they are taken literally) that are present in these legends.

Most importantly, this book is entertainment, but in the hands of, say, a teenager who only knows of Rama from the summon materia, it can be an important first step to the deep well of wisdom that mythology provides. If you buy this book, I recommend that you really take some time to look through the bibliography and find some of the author's sources for more information and accuracy about the characters that grab your attention.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Goon on August 29, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Very enjoyable follow up to the original Badass. His wit and humor make reading the book very entertaining. I recommend this to anyone who enjoyed the original, mythology, and/or science fiction.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Lauren Gramprey on August 9, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Thompson doesn't disappoint! I absolutely loved the first collection (which features tales of actual historical figures, vs the mythical ones here), and was very excited to see he had come out with another! I can see some people's criticisms of the book and series over-all; if you are looking for a straight-up or even just slightly comical set of biographies for some of the greatest people, creatures, legends and deities who ever lived, this may not be for you. If you're in the mood to read a funny book, featuring aforementioned beings, that uses hyperbole as well as time-defying phrases and scenarios (along the lines of Gengis Khan raiding a 7-Eleven -- not actual excerpt, just an example)than this is for you! It had me laughing out loud several times throughout the book! And of course the artwork by awesome contemporary illustrators like Steve Belledin adds a whole other level Badass-itude!
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