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The Best American History Book in the World: ALL THE INFORMATION YOU NEED TO KNOW WITHOUT ALL THE STUFF THAT WILL PUT YOU TO SLEEP Paperback – July 20, 2003
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About the Author
Eric Burnett currently teaches high school at the Singapore American School. In addition to the Best Book series, he is also the author of the series Kids Around the World and Portal to the Past.
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Top customer reviews
from p. 94:
"There's a funny story about Major General Sir Edward Pakenham [commander of the British forces during the Battle of New Orleans]. During the battle, a band of pirates fighting for Jackson killed Pakenham by severing his head. Then they sent his body back to his ship in two barrels: one for his body, and one for his head. During the battle his wife had been on the ship, and on their voyage back to England her servants brought her to the cargo hold of the ship and pulled her dead husband's severed head out of the barrel. She totally freaked out, and they had to put her in a straight jacket for the reminder of the journey home."
This story is suspicious for several reasons, but here are the most prominent mistakes:
(1) Pakenham was killed by bullets on the field, not by "pirates" who severed his head;
(2) he was unmarried.
I could pick further holes in the story, but it seems unnecessary given the two major factual errors. Clearly, the book was not carefully edited.
If the student-essayists had worked with scholars who could help them focus their stories and get the correct information, the concept could really have worked. As it is, I would never recommend this book as the sole source of information about any topic.
In fairness I should point out Mr. Burnett's claim that all royalties from the sale of this book go to charity, and I applaud him for that. But he would sell more books and raise more money if it were better written!