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The Big Book of American Trivia Paperback – January 1, 2012
All Books, All the Time
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From the Back Cover
Impress your friends (or stump them) with knowledge of all things American―geography, history, entertainment, people, culture, and quirky miscellany. More than 3,000 questions will fill countless hours of fun as you learn fascinating facts about our country. Now updated and revised with facts and trivia related to the American flag and “The Star-Spangled Banner,” The Big Book of American Trivia has hours of fun packed within its pages. Perfect for party games, family gatherings, and vacations, this collection will be sure to please all the trivia fanatics you know!
Q: In what year’s World Series was “The Star-Spangled Banner” played at a sports event for the first time?
A: Page 239
Q: What major East Coast city has a Cherry Blossom Festival every April?
A: Page 145
Q: What outdoorsy president was the first president to ride in an automobile?
A: Page 205
Q: How did the original rectangular flag that Francis Scott Key saw when he composed “The Star-Spangled Banner” eventually become a square?
A: Page 237
Q: What twentieth-century president was the first to be born in a hospital?
A: Page 259
Fun. Fascinating. All-American.
Top customer reviews
First problem: the difficulty level is all over the place. A lot of the questions are too easy, which is made worse by the hints sometimes printed right after the question -- example: "What evening soap's November 21, 1980 episode was one of the top-rated TV shows of all time? (Hint: Who shot...?). I like the hint idea, but the person reading the question has no way to avoid the hint, so it just becomes an easy question whether you wanted it to be or not. And then there are questions that are hard, but not in a challenging way -- more of a "you would never ever know this unless you happened to live near there" way. It seemed that the author was often using a trivia question format not to create gettable questions, but simply to introduce nifty facts (of which there are plenty here) Obviously a good trivia book should have a range of difficulties, but this one rarely hit the "challenging but you can think it through to the right answer" sweet spot.
Second problem: the questions aren't diverse enough. The entertainment questions (movies, TV, etc) skew heavily old -- a lot of questions about the 40s, 50s, 60s, not so many about the 80s, 90s, or 2000s (although my husband actually liked that, because he felt it broadened his horizons. My husband, by the way, is the reason this book gets 3 stars instead of the 2 I wanted to give it). I also often got the impression that the author found a resource about one particular topic and mined a whole bunch of questions from there. There are quite a few questions about Six Flags, for instance, and not just in the Theme Park section. Or the Theater section, which has 31 questions, 10 of which are about outdoor theater. Speaking of lack of diversity, in a different sense, there are 103 questions in the Things of the Spirit section -- and the number of questions about non-Christian religions? Two, I think: one about a "shrine" to Will Rogers, one about a wedding chapel.
Third problem: topics and questions get repeated, sometimes word for word in different sections, sometimes slightly reworded on the same page. And it wasn't a fluke -- it happened fairly often.
That said, I do have some nice things to say about this book. First off, the author often writes little explanations along with the answers, which is something I wish more trivia books did. Also, the book is nicely organized, with trivia arranged by topic, and some neat sections like 10 questions about each state and 15 or more questions about each decade from the 1910s to the 2000s (only a few questions about each state are actually good trivia questions, of course, but it was a nice thought). The layout and copy-editing were professional, which is sadly more than can be said about some trivia books we've used. But the bottom line is this: we were hugely frustrated trying to use this to quiz ourselves, and I ended up skipping lots of questions and rewriting others on the fly to make them more interesting/gettable. If you're looking for a big ol' trivia book to quiz yourself or others, I highly recommend Ken Jennings' s Trivia Almanac rather than this one. If you're looking for a book to page through to learn some interesting facts, without necessarily trying to quiz anyone, then this will work all right.
I started reading the book as soon as it was on my Kindle Fire. I love how the trivia questions have a blue link at the end of the question to lead you to the correct answer. That makes it so much easier when using this book as a game. My husband loves history, especially American history. This book will also help my oldest son with American history as we play this as a trivia game.
I see my little family using this book as a family game on game night. I recommend this book to any history buff. Also to families for making this book into a game.
5 out of 5 stars due to so many ways to use this book and learn American history at the same time.
It was great as a free book that kept us entertained on the road for an hour but I would not recommend purchasing this item.