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Dave Barry Slept Here: A Sort of History of the United States Mass Market Paperback – October 29, 1997


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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books; Reprint edition (October 29, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345416600
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345416605
  • Product Dimensions: 0.7 x 4.1 x 6.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (98 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #100,528 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Dave runs American history through the wringer, and comes up with some wonderfully warped formulations. (The Vikings, for example, "were extremely rugged individuals whose idea of a fun time was to sail over and set fire to England, which in those days was fairly easy to ignite because it had a very high level of thatch, this being the kind of roof favored by the local tribespeople...") Covering pre-Columbian days through the dawn of the Bush administration, Dave Barry Slept Here is the funniest thing to hit this great nation since the Smoot-Hawley Tariff of 1930. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

Miami Herald syndicated columnist Barry here assembles a funny U.S. history replete with malapropisms (Ferdinard and Imelda of Spain financed Columbus), parodies ("This land is your land, / This land is my land, / Looks like one of us / Has a forged deed to the land."), literal-mindedness (President Monroe Doctrine) and, above all, anachronisms (the Wrights' first flight was canceled because of equipment problems at O'Hare). Several clever gags run through the book--one about the significant contributions of women and minorities (although none is ever detailed), another ascribing the date of every major event to October 8 (for ease in remembering) and a third featuring the Hawley-Smoot tariff, which had an immediate impact on the Great Depression. There are few heroes in Barry's pantheon, and only an occasional villain--principally Richard Nixon--while other widely admired figures, like Mark Twain and Winston Churchill, are given their lumps. Author tour.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

The New York Times has pronounced Dave Barry "the funniest man in America." But of course that could have been on a slow news day when there wasn't much else fit to print. True, his bestselling collections of columns are legendary, but it is his wholly original books that reveal him as an American icon. Dave Barry Slept Here was his version of American history. Dave Barry Does Japan was a contribution to international peace and understanding from which Japan has not yet fully recovered. Dave Barry's Complete Guide to Guys is among the best-read volumes in rehab centers and prisons. Raised in a suburb of New York, educated in a suburb of Philadelphia, he lives now in a suburb of Miami. He is not, as he often puts it so poetically, making this up.

Customer Reviews

The book is very funny, but still covers US history.
Ezra Kone
It does an amazing job of presenting American history in an exciting way with a great sense of quality humor.
Amazon Customer
You will laugh at loud at least once per page if you read this book.
"qyv"

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

22 of 22 people found the following review helpful By E. M. Bristol VINE VOICE on November 6, 2005
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Pulitzer Prize winning humor columnist Dave Barry set out to write a American history book that would be accessible to lay people. How did he accomplish this? For one thing, there are no dates to memorize, unlike the ones that menaced us in school. Or rather there is a single date (Oct. 8) for all important events, so chosen because it's his son's birthday.

Another way, this book is different is that it has left out the dull parts of history. Therefore, the reader is spared having to wade through tedious facts and figures that seem interchangeable and impossible to remember or care about. No, this book is bona fide funny. True to his promise, Barry adroitly gives us our history minus the really boring parts. He begins by explaining how America was "very different...no roads, no cities, no shopping malls, no Honda dealerships." He then progresses to Columbus's voyage with the three ships: the Ninja, the Pina Colada, and the Heidy Ho III. He is succinct when his narrative threatens to veer into dullness. For example, he sums up the "Decline of Spain," by saying "On Oct. 8, 1565, Spain declined." Presidential foibles, oddball interpretations of laws and amendments, amusing chapter headings (Deep International Doo Doo, The Seventies: A Relieved Nation Learns That It Does Not Actually Need a President, a running joke at the expense of Richard Nixon, plus creative use of quote marks make this a hilarious read.

And as a bonus, he does not forget to mention the many important contributions made by women and minorities. Well, sort of.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Galen R Carnicelli on February 15, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
For sheer gut busting laughs, this is the funniest book I've read. You do need some knowledge of American history to appreciate a lot of the satire, but it's a riot on any level. "Science Made Stupid" (not by Dave Barry) comes in a close second.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By The Good Life on March 25, 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I bought this book years ago before a plane trip to Boston. I was glad I was on a prop plane that was very noisy, because I was laughing out loud and no one could hear me. This book is an absolute riot, even if you don't know American history well (although it's definitely funnier if you do). I used to have a large collection of Dave Barry's books and stopped collecting after his "Dave Barry Does Japan" flop, but this is easily the funniest of all of his books (and one of the books I kept). HIGHLY recommend.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By bravehart@home.com on January 10, 2001
Format: Paperback
Although American history is not a book, everyone and anyone who fancies themself a buff on the subject should take the time to read Dave Barry's tome, which quite possibly remains the funniest book he has written to date. Barry's aim is to eliminate the "boring method" of eternally droning textbooks and replace it with a simplified system, in which every critical event occurs on October 8. (He arrived at this date after "considering many important factors, such as: (a) it is our son's birthday.") Although he confines his most piercing commentary to important leaders and key events, he is quick to point out from time to time that "many women and minorities were also making important contributions." Some of his running jokes fall flat after a while - after all, one can only laugh at the Hawley-Smoot Tariff so many times - but Barry has more than his fare share of payday moments; especially memorable are his thoughts on the Bill of Rights, the Great Depression, and the 1950's. In true textbook fashion, Barry tops off the package with an array of outrageous footnotes and discussion questions (one example: "Did you ever seee 'Attack of the Killer Tomatoes?' Explain.") Overall, this book is truly wonderful, one that you'll certainly pull out whenever you need a good belly laugh.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By AJ on November 2, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I love American History and the more you know about it, the funnier this book is. Dave Barry's at his finest in this book and it's a must have for any Dave Barry fan or U.S. History buff. I read this book when I was taking AP US History in high school and laughed my head off. If you love history you'll appreciate it. If you think that it's the most painfully boring subject ever, this book making fun it will help you endure it. Either way, it's a can't miss gift idea (at least in my experience). Dave Barry's book should be used as an American History book. And I'm not making this up. His riffs on the American Revolution and the Civil War are classic. This book is the best of Dave Barry!
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By James Yanni on August 16, 2000
Format: Paperback
This book is definitely funny, if not as funny as "Dave Barry Is Not Making This Up", "Dave Barry Talks Back", or "Dave Barry's Only Travel Guide You'll Ever Need".
This book takes a bizzarro look at American history. To quote Dave in the introduction,
"...(a) major part of the problem is the system used to teach history in our schools, a system known technically, among professional educators, as the Boring Method. You were probably taught via this method, which features textbooks that drone on eternally as follows:
EARLY EXPLORATIONS
The region was first explored by the Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de Rigeur (1534-1579), who in 1541 was commissioned by King Charles "Chuck" IV of England (1512-1583) under the terms of the Treaty of Weems (1544) as authorized by Pope Bilious XIV (1511-1598) to end the Nine Years, Three Months, and the Better Part of a Week War (May 4, 1534-August 8, 1543, at about 1:30 PM), under which France (1243-present) would cede an area "north of the 17th parallel, west of the 163rd longitude, and convenient to shopping" to England in exchange for those lands originally conquered by Denmark during the Reign of Large Unattractive Feathered Hats (1387-1396) and subsequently granted to Italy under the Treaty of...
and so on."
You think THIS is funny? This is just the INTRODUCTION. He hasn't even warmed up yet.
Typical Dave Barry, neither his best nor his worst, which is a good bit funnier than most people at their best.
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