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Stupid American History: Tales of Stupidity, Strangeness, and Mythconceptions (Stupid History) Kindle Edition
America is the home of the brave and, apparently, the stupid and gullible. Satirist Leland Gregory teaches us a lesson in historical hilarity with Stupid American History.
From Columbus to George W. Bush (that's a lot of material, people), Leland leads us through American history's mythconceptions, exposing idiocy and inanity along the time line. He reeducates by informing us about myths. For example, Samuel Prescott actually was the guy to alert us that the British were coming and not that Paul Revere dude.
Move over Colbert and Stewart; satire has finally found its rightful place in American history.
Excerpt from the book:
"John Tyler was on his knees playing marbles when he was informed that Benjamin Harrison had died and he was now president of the United States. At that time marbles was a very popular game for both children and grown-ups."
For reasons still unknown, Texas congressman Thomas Lindsay Blanton, a Presbyterian Sunday school teacher and prohibitionist, inserted dirty words into the Congressional Record in 1921. His colleagues overwhelmingly censured him on October 24, 1921, by a vote of 293-0."
About the Author
- ASIN : B004I8VGX0
- Publisher : Andrews McMeel Publishing, LLC (April 21, 2009)
- Publication date : April 21, 2009
- Language : English
- File size : 6109 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Sticky notes : On Kindle Scribe
- Print length : 275 pages
- Best Sellers Rank: #321,867 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
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"It may sound like a tragically ironic myth that on the night the Titanic sank they were showing the film The Poseidon Adventure, about a group of people trying to stay alive after their ocean liner capsized. But it's true. Two films were scheduled during the voyage and both had nautical themes: The 1911 movie The Lighthouse Keeper starring Mary Pickford played on the evenings of April 12 and 13, and The Poseidon Adventure, directed by D.W. Griffith, played on April 14th. The movie began at 11 p.m. and people were so enthralled by the action, they didn't notice their ship jolting when it hit the fatal iceberg forty minutes later."
I thought that was ludicrous.
I did some quick research of my own. In 5 minutes I learned:
1. The was a very prolific director named D.W. Griffith, but IMDB does not say he made any movie called The Poseidon Adventure.
2. Netflix carries no film named The Poseidon Adventure made prior to 1972.
3. Wikipedia says the novel The Poseidon Adventure on which the movies are based wasn't published until 1969.
4. Snopes has a page verifying it as a true story, here: [...] first link at this page, you see what appears to be an IMDB page confirming The Poseidon Adventure was made my D.W. Griffith. [...]
6. If you click the second link on the original Snopes page, you find a disclaimer that this is in fact a fake, put there to keep people on their toes. [...]
So in less time than it's taken you to read this post, I learned that the book was wrong. This indicates the author, the publisher, and the editor did not take even the bare minimum amount of time to double check their claims. What else in the book is wrong? How can I believe anything else published here?
Despite this glaring error that discredits the author's work, I did enjoy the book. It was a fun and easy read and some of it might even have been true.
Gregory provides us with lots of small tidbits and minutia about all facets of American history. There are tales about presidents, wars, famous people, terminology, names, places, etc. Some facts are lightweight. All presidents sporting beards have been Republicans and "Richard M. Nixon was the first president nominated for a Grammy Award." Some are more startling. Women "were not given the right to sit on all juries in all fifty states" until 1973. One shocking fact that was new to me was that former President John Tyler's death in 1862 was not formally recognized by the government. What was the reason for this? He served in the Confederate States of America Congress during the Civil War. He even had a Confederate flag covering his casket.
Whether or not you're a history buff, you'll find Stupid American History a fun read.
The book would be a bit easier to read if the events were in chronological order rather than in a seemingly random order.
The Kindle version is a bit awkward to read as the typeface changes from story to story. And, when trying to go back to a section that I've highlighted or on which I made a note, the Kindle app for iPhone takes me to the general area but I have to page forward or backward to find the correct spot -- but, both problems are problems with the Kindle edition or the Kindle app, not with this book.
My only negative comment about this book is not really a negative comment at all. Some of the facts seemed a little too out there. I would love to see how Leland Gregory researched these facts. Where did he find his information?
If you are one of those people who always liked the Kennedy-Lincoln coincidences then you will love this book. At minimum it is worth a read for the laughs you will get at some of our countries past-leaders
If you like my review and want to read more of them I have a blog chronicaling my first year with my Kindle. I would love your suggestions and comments. Check out my profile for the website.