Start reading Created in Darkness by Troubled Americans on the free Kindle Reading App or on your Kindle in under a minute. Don't have a Kindle? Get your Kindle here.

Deliver to your Kindle or other device

Enter a promotion code
or gift card

Try it free

Sample the beginning of this book for free

Deliver to your Kindle or other device

Sorry, this item is not available in
Image not available for
Image not available

Created in Darkness by Troubled Americans: The Best of McSweeney's, Humor Category [Kindle Edition]

Dave Eggers , Kevin Shay , Lee Epstein , John Warner , Suzanne Kleid
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $14.00
Kindle Price: $7.99
You Save: $6.01 (43%)
Sold by: Random House LLC

Free Kindle Reading App Anybody can read Kindle books—even without a Kindle device—with the FREE Kindle app for smartphones, tablets and computers.

To get the free app, enter your email address or mobile phone number.


Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle Edition $7.99  
Hardcover --  
Paperback $10.67  
Kindle Delivers
Kindle Delivers
Subscribe to the Kindle Delivers monthly e-mail to find out about each month's Kindle book deals, new releases, editors' picks and more. Learn more (U.S. customers only)

Book Description

Now more than ever, Americans are troubled by questions. As sweaty modernity thrusts itself upon us, the veil of ignorance that cloaked our nation hangs in tatters, tattered tatters. Our "funny bones" are neither fun nor bony. Glum is the new giddy, and the old giddy wasn't too giddy to begin with.


What can be done to stop this relentless march of drabbery? Nothing. But perhaps this book can be used to dull the pain. Included herein:


The Ten Worst Films of All Time, as Reviewed by Ezra Pound over Italian Radio


Unused Audio Commentary by Howard Zinn and Noam Chomsky, Recorded Summer 2002, for The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring DVD (Platinum Series Extended Edition), Part One.


How Important Moments in My Life Would Have Been Different If I Was Shot in the Stomach


My Beard, Reviewed


Circumstances under Which I Would Have Sex with Some of My Fellow Jurors


Words That Would Make Nice Names for Babies, If It Weren't for Their Unsuitable Meanings


As a Porn Movie Titler, I May Lack Promise


Ineffective Ways to Subdue a Jaguar


Eleven Lunch Meats I Have Invented


Four Things I Would Have Said to Sylvia Plath if I Had Been Her Boyfriend


And much, much more, including 20 brilliant new lists . . .


From the Trade Paperback edition.

Editorial Reviews Review

Created in Darkness by Troubled Americans: The Best of McSweeney's, Humor Category, a collection from the clever young writers that bring us the McSweeney's literary journal and Web site, and co-edited by their leader, Dave Eggers, is funny from the first page. And by "first page," we mean the table contents. Of course not every essay, list, and swatch of dialogue are created equal, but the collection has many tasty morsels that are well worth a read, a read to friends, and then a re-read, after a decent interval has elapsed.

Most appealing in the book's starting lineup is J.M. Tyree's "On the Implausibility of the Death Star's Trash Compactor." Humorous as well as thought-provoking, this essay makes the perfect amuse bouche for what is arguably the collection's main course of hilarity, "Fire: the Next Sharp Stick?", "Candle Party," and "Unused Audio Commentary by Howard Zinn and Noam Chomsky, Recorded Summer 2002, for the Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring DVD (Platinum Series Extended Version), Part One," all to be found in the early middle. Though a familiarity with candle parties, Howard Zinn, sharp sticks, and other topics satirized in this book is helpful, it's not necessarily required for understanding the jokes. The biggest risk here is binge-reading, as you may exchange audible laughter for the feeling that you are being force-fed an ice cream sundae. If you pace yourself--say no more than four to six pieces at a time--you should have the energy for the final third, including the funny list marathon at the end. Or save a few portions for later when you are really starving for a good laugh. --Leah Weathersby

From Publishers Weekly

In his introduction, McSweeney's founder Eggers says the goal of these short pieces, most of which originally appeared on the McSweeney's Web site, is to be "funny without being humorous," which is an open invitation for critical bashing. It's true that the short stories, essays and lists—oh, so many lists—tend not to have, or even try for, the sort of universal appeal that turns stand-up comedians into bestselling authors. Readers' reactions will depend on whether they share the same level of erudition and love for pop culture as the authors. Greg Purcell's spot-on impression of the deranged voice of Ezra Pound's later writings, for example, will work only for those who know Pound's work, while the "Journal of a New COBRA Recruit" will be equally incomprehensible to people who didn't grow up with GI Joe in the 1980s. If you get the jokes, though, they can be side-splittingly hilarious. Of course, there are misfires, especially those that play with the idea of trying and failing to be funny.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Product Details

  • File Size: 604 KB
  • Print Length: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; 1 edition (August 10, 2004)
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B000FC1VO2
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #375,371 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
  •  Would you like to give feedback on images?

Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
3.8 out of 5 stars
Share your thoughts with other customers
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The best outshines the rest September 3, 2004
Like any humor collection, not everything in "Created In Darkness" is a guarenteed laugh riot. Then again, McSweeneys has a reputation for aiming more for the brain than the funny bone, so that shouldn't be a surprise. What IS a surprise is that the amount of really good pieces outweighs the fair to not-very-good pieces.

Among the stand-outs: the two Ezra Pound pieces (I was vaguely familiar with Pound's WWII activities, so that helps to get it), the Diary of a Cobra Recruit (haven't we all wondered if they were taught how to shoot at everything but the G.I. Joes?), The Letters to Mr. Vandwoude(sic), who refuses to be scammed out of his cash by a faux "orphan" charity, Michael Ian Black's look at why people hate him, and Howard Zinn and Noam Chomsky's commentary for LOTR: The Fellowship of The Ring (no matter how you lean politically, you'll laugh your ass off).

There are many more that, if I hadn't just gotten up, I would be able to rattle off for inclusion in the "stand-outs" section, but maybe you should go ahead and buy the book and see for yourself...

Anyway, I read this book over a weekend, and enjoyed just about every minute of it. The one fault I give it is the section of lists at the end. That got old real quick, page after page, but there were plenty of hilarious ones to make it worthwhile.

So do yourself a favor and pick this up. It's a nice selection of humor pieces from one of the few really good humor sites out there.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A reader from the U.P. (it's in Michigan) October 4, 2004
By Trevor
I'm giving this five stars instead of four because this is -- where, if you really like something and have the relatively reasonable expectation that your like should effect the overall perception of the book, then you have to say "five stars" to make up for those who are jerks. Anyway, I liked this book, a lot. For those of you familiar with Mcsweeney's, it's a great collection. For those of you who are not -- you are missing out, by the way -- it's a great introduction. It's always funny and smart and sometimes very funny and very smart. Everyone who is not my mother will laugh out loud.

One more thing, while it's great to read in the bathroom, be careful. I was serious about the laughing out loud. Your housemates will think you're weird.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars 20% Genius, 80% Blah February 13, 2005
Like basically anything else in literature, humor is exceedingly subjective. Comic fiction is probably my favorite genre, and my most desperately sought-after. Alas, there's little out there that truly hits the right note for me, so while others extol the genius of Will Ferrell in "Old School" I often end up retreating to the sublime prose of P.G. Wodehouse (although that scene where they're in the van and "Master of Puppets" is blasting, is pretty sweet). I was enthused to pick up this anthology of short pieces that have appeared in the McSweeny's lit rag or on their web site over the years, as I often find McSweeny's to be good fun (when they're not lapsing into preciousness or lurching into cleverness). There are about fifty pieces in this book (plus about 25 lists), and I'm a little bummed to report that I only really loved 5 of these.

As others have noted, J.M. Tyree's "On the Implausibility of the Death Star's Trash Compactor" is excellent stuff, relying, of course, on an appreciation for the film "The Empire Strikes Back." In general, the longer pieces tended to much better. Indeed, the longest piece in the book (at 18 pages), is thankfully also one of the funniest, as Jeff Alexander and Tom Bissell imagine a lost DVD commentary for the first "Lord of the Rings" films, as done by Noam Chomsky and Howard Zinn. Again, this relies on an appreciation of "The Two Towers" as well as the works of Chomsky and Zinn. It's so sidesplittingly funny that I'm going to violate copyright at work tomorrow by copying it and mailing it to a bunch of friends (I know... so pre-email...). Jim Stallard's excellent 13 page "No Justice, No Foul" is based on the premise that historically, when the Supreme Court has been split, the decision is decided by a 4 on 4 basketball game.
Read more ›
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
20 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Anne Rice Eat Your Heart Out November 17, 2004
This is a fine book, and I encourage you to buy it. Buy it now. Buy the book already. Stop with the equivocating. Be strong. It's a great book. You won't regret it.

But could we stop talking about how we like to read this book in the bathroom? I am merely one tiny contributor among many to the book, one miniscule contributor among a multitude to the website. I can't speak for everyone. Still, the idea that you are reading something of mine in your bathroom sort of creeps me out. Unless you are Angelina Jolie, and even then I have to think about it. I just don't like the idea that the hand you are using the turn the page on "Lessons Learned from My Study of Literature" was, a moment before -- GROSS! Stop it. Just stop it right now.

True, my entry in this compendium is quite small, putting the odds against you actually reading my words in your bathroom. You probably enjoyed my entry on your back porch during a gorgeous sunset, or on an afternoon spin in your convertible, your best friend reading aloud from the passenger seat, her long hair swirling up furiously, as if a miniature tornado were chasing your Miata, your golden retriever in the back seat smiling that goofy golden retriever smile. Still, there is the remote chance that you are, instead, alone, furtively -- oh God, I can't even think about it.

This book makes a great gift. It's small, and light, and will display your good taste. It will make your best friend happy when she unwraps it, and you more beautiful in her eyes, which is what the holidays are all about. Believe me when I say that you cannot go wrong with this book.

Just try not to take it into the bathroom. Please. For my sake.

Thank you, that is all.
Was this review helpful to you?
Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Curated Collection of Funny Writing for Smart People
Created in Darkness is a brilliant collection of some of the funniest satire of our age presented by one of the funniest and original publications ever created. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Garrett Zecker
5.0 out of 5 stars Hilarious and has stood up well to time
Hilarious collection of short stories and humorous lists. I have purchased several copies of this book as gifts - as it is perfect for the intelligent reader with a good sense of... Read more
Published 7 months ago by Julie
4.0 out of 5 stars A fun compilation of humor writing.
A fun compilation of humor writing. Dry sense of humor definitely needed to enjoy this book, as I found the tone of most articles very tongue-in-cheek.
Published 13 months ago by Janet K. Nabring-Stager
5.0 out of 5 stars Hysterical
I love this book. It's kind of off-beat humor just hits home. Favorite pieces are the "Death Star Trash Compactor" and "Rapper or Personal Hygiene Product". Read more
Published on March 21, 2011 by Ria Darling
4.0 out of 5 stars Humour is Timeless: 1998-2003
"Created in Darkness" is a collection of humour ranging from lists to jokes to stories and as you would expect with any joke anthology, the results are mixed but are generally... Read more
Published on January 14, 2011 by Sam Quixote
1.0 out of 5 stars Not Much Here
Not much here. I didn't understand most of it. The parts I understood, I didn't like.
Published on October 16, 2010 by Stephen Williams
5.0 out of 5 stars ...strong feelings that parts were written just for me...
Maybe it hints at my age or "demographic", but I was profoundly influenced and thoroughly troubled by this prose. Chomsky on Middle Earth? Cobra recruiting? Read more
Published on December 10, 2008 by William Bickford
1.0 out of 5 stars And the Oscar for 'Spot-On Review' goes to...
...Eric J. Baur "Internet Consumer" (for which, see below on the reviews page).

Holy mother of comedy, Batman! Could a 'humor' anthology be any less humorous? Read more
Published on September 5, 2008 by Librum
4.0 out of 5 stars Great doorknob
I bought this book thinking it would make a good bookstop. Doorknob. Showstopper. Whatever.
I was quite disappointed. This book is not suitable for any kind of portmanteau. Read more
Published on August 5, 2007 by JJ Merelo
4.0 out of 5 stars Hm. My rating stars may be tainted.
I was so extremely bored by the stories, that the time I got to the lists I was almost falling off of my couch laughing. I loved the lists. Loved. Read more
Published on December 22, 2006 by Gabrielle J. Brown
Search Customer Reviews

More About the Authors

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?


There are no discussions about this product yet.
Be the first to discuss this product with the community.
Start a new discussion
First post:
Prompts for sign-in

Look for Similar Items by Category