If you're a fan of The Book of Lists
or The People's Almanac
, you'll love this book. (The very accurate subtitle is "History with the Boring Parts Left Out.") Like those earlier tomes, this one attains the very weird status of being a reference work you could read from cover to cover--and will want to. The section on "War" includes the category of "Aerial Bombings of the Mainland United States," and the "Quotebook" includes this apercu
(from writer Gershon Legman): "Murder is a crime. Describing murder is not. Sex is not a crime. Describing sex is."
From Library Journal
Few professionals can predict how the millennium will affect them, but librarians can be assured of an inundation of histories of the 20th century. This early offering by the cocreator of the "Book of Lists" series is aptly titled: it is not a coherent, chronological history but a kaleidoscopic exhibition presented in the familiar style of the People's Almanac publications. Seven hundred signed entries grouped under 20 subject headings reflect the century in a series of fractured glimpses, sometimes cynically, often amusingly, always entertainingly. Emphasis is on the final two-thirds of the century. Coverage is quirky (only four presidents are profiled) but broad in scope, and most entries have something memorable to impart. Some of the material has appeared in earlier People's Almanac publications but has been reworked for this book. With this much diverse and historically bizarre information, there is bound to be an occasional error?in one section the longest movie kiss is stated as three minutes and five seconds, while in another section this is dismissed as a common myth. However, the book is most likely to be utilized for recreational enjoyment rather than as an authoritative reference source. In another few years library shelves will be bulging with serious histories of the 1900s; now is the time to begin your collection with a reasonably priced title that views the 20th century (or at least 94 percent of it) from the standpoint of a chronicler gleefully fiddling with the remote control. Recommended for all libraries.-?James Moffet, Baldwin P.L., Birmingham, Mich.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.