MENTAL FLOSS: THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD

 
 

WHAT IS IT?

History is . . .
(a) more or less bunk.
(b) a nightmare from which I am trying to awaken.
(c) as thoroughly infected with lies as a street whore with syphilis.

Match your answers:
(1) Stephen Daedalus of James Joyce’s Ulysses
(2) Henry Ford
(3) Arthur Schopenhauer

It turns out that answer need not be bunk, nightmarish, or diseased. In the hands of mental_floss, history’s most interesting bits have been handpicked and roasted to perfection. Packed with little-known stories and outrageous—but accurate—facts, you’ll laugh yourself smarter on this joyride through 60,000 years of human civilization. Remember: just because it’s true, doesn’t mean it’s boring!

THE READ

It turns out that answer need not be bunk, nightmarish, or diseased. In the hands of mental_floss, history’s most interesting bits have been handpicked and roasted to perfection. Packed with little-known stories and outrageous—but accurate—facts, you’ll laugh yourself smarter on this joyride through 60,000 years of human civilization. Remember: just because it’s true, doesn’t mean it’s boring!

 

The book is fun and informative. Sure, I knew most of the facts before entering into the novel, but it offers up something special for even the most seasoned history buffs. It breaks down info by contingents of society that were impacted in those eras. Sure, I took note of how many times the Jewish people were brought into perspective. Hell, the African American experience didn’t even seem to fancy the editors of the book until the 18th century. There were black people before the Civil War, guys. Let’s give equal coverage. 

 
THE AFTERMATH

 

But this book is about to make history, by making history interesting. Why? Because history is an edge-of-your-seat thrill ride with all the makings of a Hollywood blockbuster. You want action? We got action. Sex and violence? Plenty of both. Psychopathic mass murderers? Psychopathic mass murderers run history! And the best part is, it’s all real.”

 

Erik Sass and the others accomplish their goal by actually getting the masses to embrace the weird trappings of humanity’s time on this planet. But, I feel that it’s too jokey at times. Sure, you’ve got to take some warmth to such cold material. But, Jon Stewart and others find ways around these pitfalls. 

 

There is promise to the material and I would love to see these guys come back for a Part 2 or a tighter focus on one era. But, I’ll take this for what it is. What it remains is the best book I’ve had to read in the last six months. It’s a whole-hearted recommend to all the readers in the AV Nation and to everyone I meet. As a side-note, stop by Amazon to pre-order this title. They’ve got a special deal with Mental Floss, so that you might get a little bonus for going out of your way to lay an early claim to your copy. 

RELEASE DATE:  OCTOBER 28th, 2008

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