This book does exactly what it sets out to do: provide readers with “very basic information in a variety of subjects usually associated with what was once called ‘a well-rounded education.’” Divided into 52 sections—a weekend’s worth of reading for an entire year—the text explores the history of newspapers and magazines, English poetry from Beowulf to the Victorians, the Bible, American fiction, ancient Egypt, the history of computing, radio and television, American cinema, and much, much more. It reads like the kind of textbook you wish you’d had in school: succinct, easily digestible, even stylishly written. It’s also mostly free of political side-taking or editorial commentary; its goal is to inform and provide context but not to make moral or artistic judgments. Adolf Hitler, for example, is discussed in terms of his political and military actions, and the classic films Jaws and Star Wars are described as “action-driven narratives fueled by mechanical and special effects, which became blockbusters that attracted youth audiences and set box-office records.” Readers are left to assign their own moral and artistic values. A very informative, very useful book. --David Pitt
"I wish I'd had this book twenty-five years ago. It is certain to become an indispensable tool for fact fanatics." - BILL BRYSON, Author of Short History of Nearly Everything."