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Dirty Little Secrets of the Twentieth Century Paperback – September 22, 1999

2.9 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Dunnigan has done several "Dirty Little Secrets" titles (e.g., Dirty Little Secrets of World War II), and this latest is written in an easy-to-read style that will not bog down the casual reader. Covering 150 "misconceptions" about our century, he takes readers on a historical tour of the 20th century, exploring the vast realms of government and corporate secrets that have been kept from public view. The book is divided into seven chapters dealing with such topics as sex, politics, technology, and big business. Dunnigan shows the reader why he feels that technology has left an indelible mark on our everyday lives and how many of the corporations that influence our daily routines are in some respects more powerful than our local and national governments. While many of these secrets can now be obtained via the Freedom of Information Act or through online researching, Dunnigan implies that we may still be doomed to repeat our past mistakes. With the end of the century fast approaching, this book may prove to be a best seller. For public libraries.ALaRoi Lawton, Bronx Community Coll., CUNY
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Kirkus Reviews

An overview of our late, great century that is consistently fun and informative. Dunnigan is the author of five military history books, other dirty little secret books, and a combination of the two (Dirty Little Secrets of the Vietnam War, 1999, which he co- authored with Albert A. Nofi). The author offers a bird's-eye view of 20th-century changes in areas like population, the economy, health, technology, and lifestyles, and yet can be analytical and conspiratorially revealing on subjects such as marketing, the media, and politics. Rather than simply seeing Americans as a hard-working, well-educated and highly paid people who are unusually mobile, Dunnigan sees the will to move to the jobs as a key to American success. Yes, we've led revolutions in living standards with mass-produced inventions like the safety razor and tampon, but Dunnigan doesn't attribute our superior health and longevity records to antibiotics and hi-tech medical gizmos, but to improved sanitation. Typical of Dunnigan's humor and insights, he writes: ``let us never forget the true medical miracle of the twentieth centurythe sewer pipe.'' The writing is ironic or droll, but the author boldly takes on the high price of police, teachers' unions, and advertising. Dunnigan writes insightfully about Wal-Mart, General Motors, and Atari as well as his familiar subjects like warfare and politics. -- Copyright ©1999, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks; 1 edition (September 22, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0688170684
  • ISBN-13: 978-0688170684
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.8 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 2.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #481,686 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
In many ways this is excellent history. Dunnigan writes quite readably; his analysis is succinct and includes the right amount of information; a great deal of ground is covered. While Dunnigan has mostly written about military history matters in the past, he proves here that he is a versatile historian well able to handle sociological and economic matters. I find most of his statements well defended.
The only problem seems merely semantic, but it will affect most potential buyers: the title 'Dirty Little Secrets' leads one to believe that there will be a lot of classified data, stuff people were keeping hidden on purpose, and other Great Revelations. The majority of the book does not contain that. What it contains is discussion of various social and economic events and how they shaped history throughout the century. There are few 'secrets', and few of those are really 'dirty'. In my opinion that's only worth a one-star markdown on what is otherwise quite a good history book.
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Format: Paperback
The title of this book is misleading . . . it leads one to assume that the book contains a number of hidden and little known facts and figures that influenced the 20th century, when it reality it is just one man's oddyssey into the social and political forces and changes that occurred in the 20th century. No references to anything is given, so as history it is very weak. General trends are noted, most of which are obvious anyway, and some parallels with the past are noted. It is a nice, quick easy read and may turn up a few items that you weren't aware of before, but anyone familiar with current events or recent history will not be impressed. An example from the book: Why do Americans live longer than other peoples in third world countried? Answer: Better sanitation! A secret? You decide.
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Format: Paperback
I really liked this book because it didnt sound like my history teacher. I'm no historian, but the writer's explanations is somewhat similar to my grandparents and relative's never ending tale of the past.
I'd recommend this for the young people, like me, who would like to read about history--- its a way to start liking it.
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Format: Paperback
1st off, there's nothing "dirty" about any of the "little secrets" in this book. However, the info provided is new to me, very interesting, and very well written. It's amazing that so much of this material it new to me, I've enjoyed this book a lot and I suspect that you will too.
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Format: Paperback
Aside from the semantic problem that the previous reviewer noted, i.e., 'secrets' tend to be things that are kept from public knowledge, this book is simplistic and superficial to the extreme. The tone is one of middlebrow haughtiness (think Reader's Digest) and the information tends to be more of a gloss instead of the interesting anecdotes one would expect from the title.
This book seems to have been written to reassure the author's chosen audience that they already know everything important.
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