Enter your mobile number below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
Getting the download link through email is temporarily not available. Please check back later.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone
  • Android

To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.

Qty:1
  • List Price: $24.99
  • Save: $5.24 (21%)
FREE Shipping on orders with at least $25 of books.
Only 5 left in stock (more on the way).
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.
The Mental Floss History ... has been added to your Cart
FREE Shipping on orders over $25.
Condition: Used: Good
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See all 3 images

The Mental Floss History of the United States: The (Almost) Complete and (Entirely) Entertaining Story of America Hardcover – October 5, 2010

4.4 out of 5 stars 83 customer reviews

See all 5 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Price
New from Used from
Kindle
"Please retry"
Hardcover
"Please retry"
$19.75
$2.48 $2.99

"A Child's First Book of Trump"
A timely new parody from best-selling author and comedian Michael Ian Black. Learn more | Kindle book
$19.75 FREE Shipping on orders with at least $25 of books. Only 5 left in stock (more on the way). Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.
click to open popover

Frequently Bought Together

  • The Mental Floss History of the United States: The (Almost) Complete and (Entirely) Entertaining Story of America
  • +
  • The Mental Floss History of the World: An Irreverent Romp through Civilization's Best Bits
  • +
  • mental floss presents Forbidden Knowledge: A Wickedly Smart Guide to History's Naughtiest Bits
Total price: $54.60
Buy the selected items together


Editorial Reviews

Review

“[M]anages to educate and entertain simultaneously, which is a win-win for everybody!” (Seattle Post-Intelligencer)

“A cavalcade of delicious facts, surprising trivia and refreshingly honest, hilariously smart-alecky insight that finally sets the wayward historical record straight.” (AmericanProfile.com)

“[B]reezy, bullet-pointed and well illustrated.” (Financial Times)

From the Back Cover

Smarter than a history teacher, funnier than the Founding Fathers, and more American than Alaska, an almost (but not entirely) comprehensive primer on American history (or at least, the good stuff)

In trademark smart aleck style, this is history according to mental_floss, an insightfully accurate and incisively humorous exploration of little-known truths and widely believed falsehoods, which simultaneously exposes some of America's oddest moments, strangest citizens, most egregious frauds, and much, much more.

Ten meaty chapters, peppered with fun trivia, entertainingly cover the essential timeline of the social, political, and cultural happenings of American history and mythbust all the lies teachers told us along the way. Was Abraham Lincoln really a heroic defender of liberty and freedom? Were the Sixties actually a groovy time of peace and love? Has the U.S. always been dependent on foreign oil? mental_floss sets the record straight and shares the fascinating stories behind politics, literature, fashion, televangelism, serial killers, genetic engineering, Yuppies, SPAM, the original Swine Flu, potato chips, rollerskating, mobsters, rum, communists, beaver wars, the rise and fall of irony, and everything else made in the U.S.A.

If you buy a new print edition of this book (or purchased one in the past), you can buy the Kindle edition for only $2.99 (Save 78%). Print edition purchase must be sold by Amazon. Learn more.
For thousands of qualifying books, your past, present, and future print-edition purchases now lets you buy the Kindle edition for $2.99 or less. (Textbooks available for $9.99 or less.)
  • Thousands of books are eligible, including current and former best sellers.
  • Look for the Kindle MatchBook icon on print and Kindle book detail pages of qualifying books. You can also see more Kindle MatchBook titles here or look up all of your Kindle MatchBook titles here.
  • Read the Kindle edition on any Kindle device or with a free Kindle Reading App.
  • Print edition must be purchased new and sold by Amazon.com.
  • Gifting of the Kindle edition at the Kindle MatchBook price is not available.
Learn more about Kindle MatchBook.


New York Times best sellers
Browse the New York Times best sellers in popular categories like Fiction, Nonfiction, Picture Books and more. See more

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Harper; First Edition edition (October 5, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061928224
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061928222
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.3 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (83 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #231,878 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Bryan Newman VINE VOICE on August 25, 2010
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Well, one caveat for that approval, my wife the history teacher, was offended by the occasional headline "Lies my teacher told me." She would like to point out, teachers don't lie, textbooks lie and bad teachers repeat them. Apparently good teachers find textbooks from three different nations and then discuss the biases of each account.

But we both love this book. We are leery of myth-busting-pop-history- bathroom-reading type books because they often get too snarky or they twist and distort facts for entertainment's sake (or worse, for an agenda's sake.) So when my wife saw me reading this book, she immediately grabbed it out of my hands and flipped to her strongest historic subjects. Immediately she said "Aha, this isn't right!" followed by a little more reading and, "Well actually that is a pretty good description of how it happened." A half hour later she handed it back to me announcing "this is actually pretty good, let me know when you're done." (This is also where she pointed out that teachers don't lie.)

I've had a real hard time putting it down since I received it. The writing is humorous, occasionally chuckle out loud funny. Some of the humor comes from sarcasm and subtle jokes, but most of it comes simply from ironic historic truths. Life really is stranger than fiction some times.

As for the book's claim for near completeness, it is impressive. It covers a huge range of stories and keeps returning to subjects like fashion, religion, culture, economics, and of course politics through different periods of US history. From big to small it covers everything from King Phillip's War to hoop skirts to the invention of potato chips to things as obvious as World War II.
Read more ›
1 Comment 65 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Mental Floss does it again! I have to admit that I am a HUGE Mental Floss Magazine enthusiast. I've been a subscriber for years and each and every magazine goes thru every family member before being brought to my office for everyone else to read. This book is even better for me as it is the History of the United States, another favorite of mine. I think the only way to describe this book to a first time Mental Floss reader is to say that it is complete truth wrapped in hysterical antedotes and clever statements. An example of this is an interesting fun fact about Alexander Grahm Bell; "Ironically, Bell came to hate the constant ringing of his own home telephone and banished it from his study so he could think in peace." Pretty cool, huh! This book covers the very early parts of America from the Vikings to the Puritans to Reagan, Rap and Rambo with a bit in between! It's full of real, truthful historical information. It reminds us of what our teachers told us in school and then gives us the truth in an easy, funny and completely accruate account of the facts. I also loved the last chapter filled with each president's biographys from Washington to Obama. Extremely interesting to read for everyone. Happy reading!
Comment 17 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Just finished this book, and it was pretty good. I noticed several errors in it, though (p. 100 in the "Dancing Shoes" section there's a series of symbols instead of words, and on p. 237. I thought it was "Nanking," not "Nanjing.") Also, to be nitpicky, please cut back on usage of the word "basically," It's an -ly adverb; using it too many times is a sign of weak writing.

There was no works cited page; I would think the authors have to mention the sources who provided the information used in the book. Maybe it'll be in the final edition.

The tone is a bit snarky, which I liked. I don't mean that in a bad way; it seems to me the authors assume people reading the book have a sense of humor, and that made this book both informative and lively.

It covers the gamut of American history, from 25,000 years ago to 2009.

I see this as a "bathroom book," one to peruse and flip through while taking care of nature's business. Again, that's not a derogatory comment. People use "Readers Digest" for the same reason.

And even though I'm pretty well-versed in history, I did learn some new facts (I was especially fascinated how FDR arranged to get all that Saudi Arabian oil in 1945; that I did not know).

A book that's entertaining and worth your time. I'm glad I flipped through it and learned something.
2 Comments 15 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I sheepishly admit that history is not my strong suit which is why I got this book; figured I'd brush the cobwebs from my brain and for that purpose, this book has been great. History has never been so interesting! I loved the little tid-bits of information that are trivial but fascinating. Did you know that words like "groovy" and "da bomb" go in a out of style but "cool" has been cool for 50 years? That the Spanish Flu started in America? I especially loved their condensed "Quick 'N' Easy Guide to Wold War I" which I found hilarious. (Am I the only one? I feel guilty laughing about a war...)

Obviously, with the nature of the book being quick snippets of information, there are things that were glossed over. September 11 got a little more than two pages, Katrina got only two and a half pages. I thought those could have been bigger sections but perhaps because they're so recent and I feel personally affected by these, I lend more importance to them? Obviously a massive amount of information will be left out if you're trying to cram the entire history of the United States between 400 pages speckled with clip art and graphs. That said, I thought their coverage of the wars were pretty good.

I found myself taking this book wherever I went (doctor's offices, my kid's swimming lessons) because it was easy to open to any ol' page and dive right in.

I learned a lot about history due to this book and enjoyed it immensely.
Comment 10 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse

Most Recent Customer Reviews

Set up an Amazon Giveaway

The Mental Floss History of the United States: The (Almost) Complete and (Entirely) Entertaining Story of America
Amazon Giveaway allows you to run promotional giveaways in order to create buzz, reward your audience, and attract new followers and customers. Learn more about Amazon Giveaway
This item: The Mental Floss History of the United States: The (Almost) Complete and (Entirely) Entertaining Story of America