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Stupid History: Tales of Stupidity, Strangeness, and Mythconceptions Through the Ages Kindle Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
There are so many things that could have made this book better. One is simple organisation: the tales are in no order whatsoever, so factoids about US history are mixed in with corrections of commonly-held beliefs about Roman history. Organising the book into sections would have drastically improved the readability and enjoyability of the book. Another thing that could have drastically improved the book would be actually getting the facts right. The author makes several assertions that are incorrect. If you're going to try to correct the record, at least get it right. And finally, the humour in the book is lame. The entries are peppered with immensely bad puns. The stupidity stands on its own; the embellishments from the author just detract from it.
The idea isn't bad, but the execution is. Hopefully someone more able will come along and do a better job with this idea.
* It's impossible to fight in chariots since the reins require two hands. Luckily ancient cultures were smart enough to design -- get this -- chariots with room for passengers. Gregory claims Hollywood invented this "myth" -- apparently in his world, Homer was a script writer, considering the numerous examples of chariot battles in the Iliad.
* Lizzie Borden didn't kill her parents. The evidence for this claim -- why she was acquitted. Just like Klaus von Bulow and OJ Simpson.
* Horseshoe crabs "are survivors of a species that became extinct 175 million years ago." Leaving aside the question of how this is "history," how exactly can an extinct species have survivors? Maybe he means that they're descended from a species that is now extinct, but then so are humans.
* He gives a really garbled interpretation of what the Emancipation Proclamation accomplished, followed by that Lincoln quote that neo-Confederates like to throw around because, removed from context, it makes Lincoln sound like a political opportunist who didn't care about slavery.
* "On November 8, 1918, the United Press Association reported that Germany had signed a peace agreement, thereby bringing World War I to an end.... But the story was wrong. It all started when someone, now believed to be a German secret agent, called the French and American intelligence offices to report that Germany had signed an armistice.... The war did't officilally end until June 28, 1919, with the signing of the Treaty of Versaille[sic]." Technically correct, but otherwise wrong.Read more ›
First, a couple of tales that he presents as "fact" are misleading. For example, an early tale in the book states that Lizzie Borden, famous axe murderer, was actually unanimously found innocent by the jury, implying that the famous rhyme about her is just a historical misconception. However, there is a big difference between a "not guilty" verdict and actual innocence. It is widely believed that her defense attorney was able to manipulate the sexist views held by jurors of the time (1893) to play into their view that there was no possible way this sweet young woman could have committed the crime. The judge also excluded her unsuccessful attempt to purchase cyanide shortly before the murders, and her entire original inquest testimony. At the time of her arrest, police noted that she was eerily calm and did not seem to exhibit any shock or sadness at the brutally axe-murdered bodies of her parents. In short, at best Borden's guilt is questionable, and it's certainly interesting that a jury found her innocent, but to present that verdict as a "look, she was actually innocent" tale is such an incomplete picture that it's dishonest.
Second, another of his supposed "facts" is in reality just a conservative rant about the Constitution disguised as fact. He states that there is no separation of church and state because that specific phrase does not appear anywhere in the Constitution, gives his own opinion on the policy justification for the establishment clause, then states that "no one, not even the courts, takes the time to read it." Yeah, okay.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Full of fun and interesting facts. It was very well written and easy to read. I would recommend to a friend.Published 19 days ago by Rachel Aulet
The book is OK as humor, but many of the "facts" presented are simply incorrect. Quite a few of them have a political slant, apparently a good deal of the author's... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
It was great reading what the truth is regarding many"facts" we learned growing up. This book should be required reading in history class in high school.Published 5 months ago by Easy Rider
A truly delightful look at various historical points. Highly recommended. Lots of subtle chuckles as you go along. I strongly recommend it. Charles Reap...(Read-and-Relax. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Charles A. Reap Jr.
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