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Our Dumb Century: The Onion Presents 100 Years of Headlines from America's Finest News Source Hardcover – September 25, 2007


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Crown Archetype (September 25, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307393577
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307393579
  • Product Dimensions: 10.9 x 8.7 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (244 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #594,747 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Everyone with a sharp wit and sense of humor should read this book!
Diane
If you are familiar with the history of the twentieth century, and you have even the faintest glimmering of a sense of humor, get this book!
Jude C Toche
Read this book - it will make you laugh to tears as you flip through its pages.
Maggie N.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

76 of 79 people found the following review helpful By Jeffrey A. Veyera VINE VOICE on March 4, 2000
Format: Paperback
For those of us who live in Wisconsin, one of the few bennies is close proximity to ground zero for the Onion, one of the strangest (not to mention funniest) free publications anywhere.
If you haven't been clued in to what the Onion does, it is a dead-on, straightfaced parody of American newspapers. It is beautifully crude and sophomoric in a manner Mad magazine no longer aspires to, and for readers looking for some deathly funny satire in this politically-correct, can't-we-all-just-get-along, sissified age, it is a lighthouse in a stormy sea.
So what's Our Dumb Century about? It is a parody of those fin-de-siecle commemoratives most major newspapers put out last year, ignorant of the fact that we still have a year left in the 20th century.
The book allegedly reprints the front pages of the last 100 years of the Onion during critical times in the nation's history. The writers accurately ape the style of newspapers throughout this period, from the cluttered text columns of the early 1900s to the graphic-intensive layouts of today.
Of course it's the stories themselves that hit you where you live. 1902-"Republics Negroes Still Waiting for 40 Acres, Mule--Agriculture Secretary Faults Low Mule, Acreage Availability at Present." 1918-"Corpse-Eating Rats Now Largest Military Force in Europe." 1934-"FDR Creates 300,000 Jobs With 'Tunnel to New Zealand' Project." 1945-"Hitler Commits Suicide; Ravaging of Europe a 'Desperate Cry for Help', Say Therapists." Or my favorite from 1963-"Kennedy Slain by CIA, Mafia, Castro, LBJ, Teamsters, Freemasons--President Shot 129 Times from 43 Different Angles." Oliver Stone was right!
If you're up for slaughtering some sacred cows with a smile and have more of a sense of humor than your typical Thought Police apparatchik, this may be the book for you.
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60 of 62 people found the following review helpful By Diane on November 28, 1999
Format: Paperback
The Onion is satire at its very best - I HIGHLY recommend this book to anyone who has been looking for a refreshing cocktail of intelligent humor mixed with pop cultural references.
This book contains the most savagely keen and witty commentaries on American culture I have EVER read. Not only has this book consistently made me <literally> laugh so hard that tears came rolling from my eyes - but it also made me rethink some of my long held perspectives on U.S. history and world events.
Every concise, perceptive, hilarious article (and there are hundreds) is a masterpiece! Everyone with a sharp wit and sense of humor should read this book! I am giving it to all my friends (mostly because I want them to stop borrowing my copy! ).
Read it - I guarantee you will not be disappointed.
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24 of 24 people found the following review helpful By J. Angus Macdonald on May 15, 2002
Format: Paperback
A parody is a dangerous thing to maintain. Often you get caught in your own cleverness and lose steam (or lose your readers' interest). Our Dumb Century has gone beyond all that. Here is 20th century America skewered for all it is worth, leaving no shortcoming unnoticed, no historical event unmasked.
This book is not simply a "goof" on history. The writers really know their stuff. I mean REALLY know it. Each entry is the "front page" of The Onion (gee, we never knew it was THIS venerable...) from the 1900 to 2000 (okay, it came out in 1999, but you can stretch things). Not only are issues of the day dealt with in a hysterical manner (1955: Whites Invent 'Rock and Roll' -- New Caucasian-Based Teen Craze Sweeps America; 1945: WAR OVER! 50 YEARS OF NUCLEAR PARANOIA BEGIN TODAY!), but the typeface, the layouts of the pages, and the quality of the photos match the period. Find an old newspaper. Hold it up to the "equivalent year" in The Onion. It is a match.
Conservatives are blasted. Liberals are skewered. Apoliticals are tarred and feathered. Everyone gets their due in this volume.
Worse yet, you might even get an education reading this book. If nothing else you'll probably have to go look something up to just understand some of the jokes. I know I did...
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Eric on November 30, 2007
Format: Hardcover
This book is simply genius comedy. Some of the best work The Onion has ever done. This is a must-own for all history buffs with a sense of humor. You really have to have a good grasp of history to fully appreciate all of the jokes, but just about anyone should be able to enjoy it on some level.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Peter Kasin on January 15, 2000
Format: Paperback
Good satire/comedy is a difficult task. It is not enough to just have a good idea or opening line, and then let that try to carry the day. Our Dumb Century succeeds where many have failed: the satires are hilarious from beginning to end. Great satirists know how to work with a kernel of truth and give it hilarious angles and take it to absurd places. The authors know their history and have a knack for latching onto some of the mainstream values and prejudices of each era, exaggerating them, and incorporating them in the headlines and stories. For example, a typical 50's headline reads "Eisenhower Vows to Address Growing Problem of Overdue Library Books," or the small print lead from the 1907 satire, "Foreign child labor a 'great threat' to American child labor, say captains of industry." There are no sacred cows here. All political viewpoints are skewered. Check out the Russian revolution headline: "Pretentious, Goateed Coffeehouse Types Seize Power In Russia." How many humor books have left you laughing until tears roll down your face? This is that rare book!
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