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Oh, Yikes!: History's Grossest Wackiest Moments Paperback – August 24, 2006
Collection of Five "Who Was" Biographies
In this box set, discover the life and times of five icons of black history and celebrate the difference they made in the world. Hardcover
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From the Back Cover
What Joy Masoff did for science in her perennial bestseller, Oh Yuck!, she now does for history in Oh, Yikes!, an illustrated grossopedia of mankind’s freakiest, funniest, weirdest, and wildest moments.
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Top Customer Reviews
However, as has been noted, there are several factual inaccuracies. There is also a smug "we are so much smarter now" tone to the book. Children will come away with the notion that people in the past were morons and that any modern child has more common sense than the wisest ruler or most learned person of the past.
Also, there is a distinct anti-European and pro non-European bias. European history is mostly presented as weird, violent and horrible, while the main focus on non-European history is on positive achievements. We learn that Europeans robbed corpses to make false teeth, then we learn that Africans and Asians chewed a twig to make their teeth white. We learn about medieval European students urinating en masse into a barrel to sell to a tanner, and on the next page we learn about the sophisticated advanced universities of Dark Ages Timbuktoo.
There's a conscious effort here to present historical Europeans as beastly benighted savages.
My question is, why the need to counterbalance every disturbing fact about European history with a positive fact about non-European history? The book's subtitle is "History's grossest, wackiest moments", after all, not "How Europeans were worse than everyone else".
I get a bit suspicious of books who fail to give credit where credit is due, or try to dumb down information to such an extent that it doesn't become information at all, but something more like misinformation. It's even worse if I have to wonder if the misinformation is intentional.
I liked the idea of the book - it sells history to kids in a way that certainly will appeal to them.
However, it has a number a bloopers and outright flaws. I will list all incorrect data I've encountered, so that you be aware. some of them are trivial factoids, yet others are more serious stuff, in need to be corrected. I have also discovered that some of the passages match corresponding articles in Wikipedia verbatim. Which inspired which I am not sure, but complemented with several horrible mistakes, these coincidences makes me suspicious.
- The guy who invented hard hats was E.D. Bullard, not E.W. as the author states.
- In chapter on Dracula she incorrectly mentions years of life of Countess Bathory (1560-1613), while all encyclopedias list 1614 as her death year.
- in the article on Edison and light bulbs she calls Wilson Swan William.
- wrongly says that Joachimsthaler is named after a city in Germany, while that city is/and was/ actually in Czech Republic.
- She ridiculously claims that Napoleon's misfortunes in Russia from the onset resulted from cold/frosty weather there. The guy crossed into Russia on June 24th with months of fair weather ahead of him...
- She confused German Saxony with British Wessex in chapter on Queens...
- Indian Uprising happened in 1857, not in 1875.
- In The Titanic drama she touches on the story of The Empress ship, which, she writes, sank a few weeks after The Titanic. Yet it actually sank 2 YEARS after The Titanic's tragedy! Absence of this proximity makes all further musings on the topic irrelevant.Read more ›
I don't refer to the "gross out" factor, which isn't a problem. What annoyed me so much was what several other reviewers have noted, and referred to as a front-and-center liberal, even anti-European bias. The slant Ms. Masoff brings to the table makes it hard to enjoy the information -- once you read one clearly false, easily disproved fact, it casts doubt on the entire rest of the work. Why would I want my kids reading poorly researched, albeit entertaining, errors presented as fact? And God help you if you believe differently than the author, who tries her level best to belittle anyone with a separate world view from her own. In some parts she includes little jibes and jabs, seemingly for no reason other than to insult.
In fact it's tempting to think that, with her obvious bias, Masoff may have engaged in a little "creative" research to put out the "facts" she wants, and carefully avoid including anything that doesn't fit her concept of the world. I refer any curious readers to another review of this book, the three star review by a "Mister E".
Two stars for the two-thirds of the book that are funny, and (maybe, with the above caveats) informative.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Have a boy who likes talking about gross things that are true? Buy them this book! It's gross and seriously popular with kids!Published 2 months ago by Travelingmomof2
Saw at store $14.95+tax. Wanted-got for $4.23 delivered used. Look brand new. Took about 30 hours to read. Geared toward older kids, but I'm 50+ and couldn't put it down. Read morePublished 3 months ago by MK
My 9 year old thinks this is awesome. He loves to read and loves facts. Gross facts are awesome to him lol! He is constantly telling me facts from this book.Published 4 months ago by Shananigans
Will be giving this to a precocious 7 year old who is quite enthralled with this topic at the moment. Expecting a big hit!Published 4 months ago by Momskeeper
Bought for Grandson's Birthday. Everybody loves it!Published 5 months ago by R. J. Gilgunn FBC & CCM