The Book of Origins: Discover the Amazing Origins of the Clothes We Wear, the Food We Eat, the People We Know, the Languages We Speak, and the Things We Use

Overview

Read Trevor Homer's posts on the Penguin Blog.

Everything—from the mundane (the pencil) to the catastrophic (the atom bomb)—has an origin, but often it’s not what we expect. A few things you may not have known:
• Gandhi was married at age thirteen!
• Chinese fortune cookies are an American invention and were not eaten in China until the 1990s when they were advertised as ...

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Overview

Read Trevor Homer's posts on the Penguin Blog.

Everything—from the mundane (the pencil) to the catastrophic (the atom bomb)—has an origin, but often it’s not what we expect. A few things you may not have known:
• Gandhi was married at age thirteen!
• Chinese fortune cookies are an American invention and were not eaten in China until the 1990s when they were advertised as “Genuine American Fortune Cookies.”
• Bayer lost the trademark for aspirin (which they had held since 1897) as part of the reparations Germany was forced to pay after World War I.
• The original idea for the electric chair came from an American dentist.

For aspiring mindblowers and wanna-be know-it-alls, The Book of Origins is a treasure trove of trivia and fascinating facts guaranteed to entertain and enlighten.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
Journeys of 1,000 miles must begin with a single step, but most first steps don't go anywhere. Trevor Homer's The Book of Origins is devoted to the beginnings of steps that did; things as small and perishable as Chinese fortune cookies or as large and destructive as the atom bomb. In the process, readers will learn how aspirins were involved with World War I reparations and how an Upstate New York dentist came up with the idea of the electric chair. Fabulous factoids.
Library Journal

Homer courageously adds his book to the abundance of publications available on the topic of miscellanea. A former champion amateur golfer, he admits to a "lifelong obsession with obscure facts," of which this slim debut seems to be a culmination. As he notes in his introduction, the book is meant for "people who want to know how and when things began." Nineteen topical chapters (e.g., "Inventions" and "Crime") are arranged alphabetically and subdivided (e.g., the "Famous People" chapter contains an "Actors and Other Show Business People" section). Otherwise, the entries within the chapters do not appear to follow a chronological or other typical arrangement. Though Homer doesn't cite entry sources in the proof, he states in both the acknowledgments and epilog that he's used the Encyclopaedia Britannica(edition unspecified) and has "googled" the web to research facts. A table of contents guides readers to specific topics. As is usually the case with miscellanea, it is difficult to know just what information one can count on finding upon consultation. The book lists just ten British "famous people" (not one of them a Beatle). And the "Judaism" entry in the "Religion" chapter takes up five brief paragraphs, while the entry on Christianity is twice as long-surely there are more obscure facts about Judaism?
—Katherine Mossman

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780452288324
  • Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 5/29/2007
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 1,312,021
  • Product dimensions: 5.30 (w) x 7.99 (h) x 0.72 (d)

Meet the Author

Trevor Homer was born and educated in the Black Country and is a former British Amateur Champion golfer. He represented England seventeen times, winning the European Team Championship in 1973, and Great Britain and Northern Ireland eleven times.

He tried professional tournament golf in the USA and Europe for a brief period, but boredom set in trying to do for money, what had previously been played for fun. Trevor has lectured to the governing bodies of golf on the way forward in developing the sport, and currently acts as an expert witness in cases of personal injury on golf courses.

He has founded and developed several businesses and been a director of a number of private and public companies. He also ran a large charity at one point in his career. Married with two sons, he now lives in South Staffordshire.

History and interesting facts have fascinated him since schooldays and he has compiled The Book of Origins.

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