From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Eight-time Emmy-winner Stewart (America: The Book) seeks to expand his audience to aliens who might land on earth after the extinction of the human race and be puzzled over the artifacts we've left behind. "Greetings... on behalf of not only ourselves, but the entire Viacom family," he writes in this laugh-out-loud, rollicking social satire. In place of skits there are elaborate, color illustrations accompanied by captions written with his trademark deadpan humor; for instance, a photo of a mother and baby-elephant holds the caption, "advances in contraception and industrialized food production allowed modern couples to have fewer offspring, while leaving the total weight of families constant." Nothing is off-limits here, not even Benjamin Franklin, whose pithy saying "Nothing is certain but death and taxes" Stewart expands upon. The book ends with a plea to the aliens to reconstruct the human race from DNA in the hope that, with guidance from the visitors, "we could overcome the baser aspects of our nature... and give this planet the kind of caretakers it deserves," revealing the tears behind Stewart's clown. Photos.
First America (The Book), and now, six years later, Earth. Yes, once again fearless anchor and ringleader Jon Stewart and his gang of snark-attack writers at The Daily Show bring barbed, laser-guided intelligence camouflaged with gleeful vulgarity to the page, this time to tell the story of Earth from its gritty beginnings as an unwieldy whirl of gasses and dust to its coalescence into a “fertile oasis of sophisticated life in the endless barren expanse of the universe (no offense).” Why “no offense”? Because this guide to Earth and human civilization, from the Parthenon to reality TV, is addressed to the aliens who will arrive in the wake of humankind’s looming self-destruction. In the hope of being remembered, and, perhaps, replicated, the wily and irreverent Daily Show crew marshal arrays of small images spiked with sight gags and accompanied by vinegary little captions to chronicle humankind’s rampant inventiveness and deadly inanity. Patches of actual science, albeit laced with such silly business as a recipe for Primordial Soup, give way to comedic takes on everything from adolescence to Larry King, our obsession with skin color, love (which has inspired poetry and restraining orders), celebrities, religion, advertising, and war. Funny on levels high and low, this rambunctious chronicle of the defeat of reason is a topsy-turvy tribute to a planet of “singular beauty” and its problem children. --Donna Seaman