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Our Dumb World: The Onion's Atlas of the Planet Earth, 73rd Edition Hardcover – October 30, 2007


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown and Company; 73 edition (October 30, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316018422
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316018425
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 8.4 x 11 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (166 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #439,868 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. The first all-new publication from The Onion's stable of mad satirists since 1999's Our Dumb Century, this globe-spanning volume raises the bar for topical humor. Known for their savage, irreverent newspaper parody, The Onion staff delight in playing up stereotypes and skewering perceptions, and they have picked an enormous playground in which to do so; this skewed world atlas compiles enough fictional facts to tickle-and probably offend-just about everyone. Profiling every country in the world-from the United States ("The Land of Opportunism") to Greenland ("The Largest Land Mass on Earth") to "The Who Cares Islands"-this handsome parody is visually indistinguishable from genuine reference materials, but with jokes crammed into every inch, from topographical maps ("Largest Mayan casino in Mexico") and tiny vital statistics boxes (Syria's ethnicity: "Anti-Semitic Semites") to historic timelines (Ireland, 1387: "Luck of the Irish runs out") and photo captions ("Emergency shipments of food, water, and Bono reach Sudan"). The group's humor can demand a rarified kind of knowledge-as in the entry for Nicaragua, which revolves entirely around the now-ancient Nintendo game "Contra"-ensuring that some jokes will fall flat; for anyone with a cultural pulse, however, the hit-to-miss ratio will be high. Eminently browsable and compulsively re-readable, this is an essential book for fans of Stewart, Colbert and (of course) The Onion.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

"Bottom line: Laughed my head off." -- USA Today

"Possibly the funniest book ever written." -- Miami Herald

"This is the best parody since the National Lampoon published its phony newspaper, "The Dacron Republican-Democrat," in 1978." -- Newsweek

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Customer Reviews

The book itself is very funny and entertaining.
Daniel F
Our Dumb World succeeds in exposing the essential truths about every little country in the world in a way that only they can do.
dekte
Perfect coffee table book - everyone who has picked it up can't put it down - until they are buckeled over laughing that is.
Aaron M. Shaffer

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

174 of 181 people found the following review helpful By doomsdayer520 HALL OF FAME on November 13, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Are you tired of world atlases that lie about how every country is full of scenic and cultural riches, with charming and friendly people? Wouldn't you like to see an atlas that tells the truth about how dreary and desolate the world really is, with 99% of the human population facing endless suffering and exploitation until their dying breath? Well the erudite social realists at The Onion have delivered an atlas that tells it like it is. For example, you were probably unaware that the leading cause of death in Tanzania is lion tipping, and that Georgia is even more Christian than the other Georgia. Of course The Onion is known for its subversively satirical humor, and here that cracked yet strangely intelligent worldview is applied to the Earth in a fashion similar to the historical coverage of their earlier comedy masterpiece "Our Dumb Century."

Sure some of the national entries in this atlas are built on thin stereotypes (Poland is subjected to never-ending Polish jokes) or cheeky one-issue gags that run out of steam (the entire entry on Jordan is about what a hottie Queen Rania is). But overall, Onion fans will certainly appreciate the depth of humor in this book, because to get the most out of the humor you need some real knowledge on geography and history (for instance, you'd have to know something about mapmaking to figure out why the entry on Greenland is so funny). Meanwhile, that Onion intelligence shines though, sarcastically, in entries for the most suffering countries on Earth (for instance, the genocidal slaughters in Rwanda and Sudan were peacefully resolved because you went to that rally), and there is sinister political satire in the entries for all the many countries that currently have wars going on. WARNING: Read this book with a magnifying glass, and a knowledgeable sense of satire. [~doomsdayer520~]
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47 of 49 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on April 30, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Apparently social satire is not a popular topic among today's educators. Our son was suspended for three days from Junior high school for bringing this book to school and showing it to some classmates.

My wife and I did not go through the book in detail and realized (too late) that it does contain some offensive language, pictures, and racial references. It was a lot easier to find this offensive content after a school district employee spent an afternoon flagging all of the offending pages with post-its. In my opinion it was all (well mostly all) relevant social commentary, but offensive non the less.

We thought the punishment pretty extreme, given the offensive content is minimal compared to an episode of "South Park" or any version of Grand Theft Auto. I guess you can chalk this one up to bad parenting. Too bad really, as the book humorously attacks some pretty serious issues, it easily engages young adults, and promotes a lot of good discussion.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By David in Thornhill on April 27, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is hilarious but it's also about as un-PC as it gets. If you're sensitive about that, it isn't for you. ODW is funny from cover to cover, and some of it is laugh-out-loud, in the manner of an insult comic's take on the world. The Onion cleverly and often outrageously exploits every national, ethnic, and cultural stereotype there is, both historic and present day. If you can get into that, don't miss this book, and don't miss a word of it including the tiny map notations. If insult comedy bothers you, and no corner of the globe escaped their merciless barbs, spend your money on something else.

I've bought 3 more copies as gifts for family members. When I showed them mine, they so enjoyed leafing through they couldn't wait to borrow it and show it to others themselves. I doubted I'd get it back, though, so I got them their own. It's a terrific gift, as long as you're sure you won't be inadvertently stepping on tender toes.
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75 of 98 people found the following review helpful By BMP on November 8, 2007
Format: Hardcover
As a big fan of the Onion, I eagerly anticipated the release of this book and admittedly had high expectations for it. Over the past couple of days I've spent about an hour or two looking through it (one doesn't "read" a book like this), and I've pretty much had enough of it. The quality of the material is just not very good when compared to the Onion's other books (that's to say the weekly, topical/"area man" material) and especially the brilliant "Our Dumb Century," which is the Onion's other "concept" book (which is really not that different; it just uses historical eras/events for material).

"Our Dumb World" can be easily compared to the Daily Show's "America: The Book"--especially since the Daily Show book has a whole chapter on the "rest of the world." It's almost like the Onion took the "International House of Horrors" chapter from that book and bloated it out into 200 "dense" pages of mediocre, painfully obvious jokes about every country in the world. Have you ever noticed how the word "dense" can have two meanings? So much of the book is this level of humor, based on these kinds of observations: southerners are stupid racists, the Irish are drunks, and "thank God I don't live in Africa." (I imagine that there must have been at least some discussion over how to address the subjects of genocide, poverty, and famine prevalent in so many regions of the world in a comedy book. Apparently those pitching for the photo-shopped "children feasting on the carcasses of the dead" images were more persuasive in these discussions.)

Ask yourself: What makes the Onion funny? What do its writers do well?

Then think about whether a 200+ page atlas parody could possibly be an effective vehicle for these strengths.
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