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If at All Possible, Involve a Cow: The Book of College Pranks Paperback – August, 1992


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 239 pages
  • Publisher: St Martins Pr; 1st edition (August 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312078102
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312078102
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5.5 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #906,776 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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25 of 28 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 25, 1997
Format: Paperback
No matter what anybody does, anywhere, there's an anthropologist or journalist watching...

Fortunately, in this case, the result is a book that is not so scholarly it's dull, nor so fluffy 101-psychobabble it's dull. It goes through the early days of colleges and relates student pranks and misdemeanors of those days, and then takes us to the present, with a large assortment of the high-tech/low cunning pranks pulled at M.I.T. and Cal Tech. For those who sigh for the good old days when young people were decent and respectable, the history part might be disillusioning. For students, the entire book will be inspiring (one hopes) though it is not a how-to. For administration and professors, it might cause mild insomnia. (Don't worry, though, read a few student papers, the insomnia will pass.) For anyone looking for an interesting, funny book that might be shelved under Applied Humor, check this one out.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 26, 2001
Format: Paperback
This hilariously entertaining and meticulously researched book is a "must read" for the college-bound. In fact, I would recommend reading it even before deciding where to apply. It surely gives a better sense of the atmospheres at many colleges than any admissions package ever could. It is a sad, sad shame that this book is out of print -- it is truly a classic. Steinberg is a devilishly clever and insightful author. In addition to chronicling the outrageous exploits of the students at our institutions of higher learning, he thoughfully includes guidelines for executing pranks of your own. Get your hands on a copy of this book now!!
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By T. Briggs on November 18, 2007
Format: Paperback
This book is worth the price it's currently selling for. The writing is great - engaging, funny, and with just the right amount of analysis of the pranks. Just reading about the crazy things that have gone on at colleges around the country is hilarious. It makes me wish I'd been a bit more lively when I was in college.

If you have fond memories of college, like pranks, or just like cows, I highly recommend this book.

Edit: I see that the price has now dropped to much more reasonable levels. Now there's no reason not to check this one out...
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Neil Steinberg's book is nothing less than a comprehensive history of college pranks in the United States. He begins with the earliest pranks (breaking windows was an early favorite), all the way to the modern shenanigans of the folks at the Harvard Lampoon (war with the official paper of Harvard), MIT (things on top of other things), and Caltech (hijacking the scoreboard at the Rose Bowl).

It works on many levels--if you're interested in an alternative history of higher education in the US, well, that's here. If you're interested in how pranks became more sophisticated with the advent of technology (and therefore leisure time), that's here too. And if you just want a compendium of the outrageousness perpetrated by generations of our country's best and brightest, that's here too.

It's witty and engaging throughout, but truly takes flight during the chapter-length focuses on certain events (the absurdist student government of the University of Wisconsin,"Ditch Day" at Caltech). If at All Possible, Involve a Cow: The Book of College Pranks is not just a fun read, it's also a great look at the often comical extremes American students have succumbed to over the past 250 years. Highly recommended.
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Format: Paperback
If at All Possible, Involve a Cow is perhaps the finest collection of, and explanation for, college pranks. It is an older book and doesn't cover the nifty April 2006 prank, when students posing as the Howe & Ser Moving Company stole the 130 year old, 1.7 ton Fleming House cannon and moved it to their campus in Cambridge, Massachusetts,. "Howe & Ser" most obviously sounds like "howitzer" if read recognizing that the & symbol is a ligature of the Latin word "et", but it could also mean "how we answer" as a retaliation for 2005.

It doesn't even include my brother-in-law's revenge on that creep who checked out and destroyed all the copies of a book needed by the whole class for their final grade (Saint Mary's College, Moraga, CA, in the late 1970's. Nobody's perfect).

They only turned a cow loose in his room over Spring Break for the whole weekend. Do you have any idea how much damage a cow can generate in one weekend?
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