Dave Barry's History of the Millennium (So Far)

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Overview

A brilliantly funny look at the tumultuous recent past from the Pulitzer Prize-winning humorist.

Remember when everything was going to go to hell when Y2K struck?

That didn't happen. Right?

But what did happen? To provide a little perspective on a really messed-up millennium (so far), the one and only Dave Barry slips into his historian's robe (it's plush terrycloth) and revisits the defining moments in our ...

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Dave Barry's History of the Millennium (So Far)

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Overview

A brilliantly funny look at the tumultuous recent past from the Pulitzer Prize-winning humorist.

Remember when everything was going to go to hell when Y2K struck?

That didn't happen. Right?

But what did happen? To provide a little perspective on a really messed-up millennium (so far), the one and only Dave Barry slips into his historian's robe (it's plush terrycloth) and revisits the defining moments in our country's recent history-from the Bush years to-jeez, it's still the Bush years! As an added bonus, Barry quickly-we-re busy here-tosses in the complete history of the last millennium, covering crucial turning points such as the invention of the pizza by Leonardo da Vinci and the computer by Charles Babbage (who died in 1871 still waiting to talk to tech support).

Fellow Americans, the time has come to bone up with Barry as he puts the hysterical in history.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Although Barry retired his column in 2004, he continues to examine current events with his annual "Year in Review" surveys, and the ones he wrote between 2000 and 2006 are collected here. He opens with a 33-page outline of history (from 1000 to 1999) in which we learn that the first book Gutenberg mass produced in 1455 was Codpieces of Passionby Danielle Steel, and that computer pioneer Charles Babbage "died in 1871, still waiting to talk to someone from Technical Support." In 2002, airline industry losses prompted "America West, in a cost-cutting measure, to eliminate the cockpit minibar"; 2003: Jayson Blair, leaving the New York Times"thoroughly disgraced, is forced to accept a six-figure book contract"; 2004: Abu Ghraib photos revealed "soldiers repeatedly forcing prisoners to look at the video of Janet Jackson's right nipple"; 2006: Osama bin Laden released "another audiotape, for the first time making it downloadable from iTunes." As a time line of humor, some of Barry's jokes were probably funnier the year they were written, but it's still a breezy and entertaining read. The 32 clever cartoon illustrations brighten the book's pages. (Sept. 17)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Kirkus Reviews
With the third millennium more than one half of one percent finished, humorist/novelist Barry (The Shepherd, the Angel, and Walter the Christmas Dog, 2006, etc.) is the first kid on the block to decide it's high time for its history. Ah, the nostalgia! Those magnificent Enron years-or maybe they were great WorldCom years-seem like only yesterday! How could we have forgotten The Election from Hell, Kelsey Grammer, color-coded security alarms, Elian Gonzalez or a man named Dan Rather? Month by month, historian Barry carefully chronicles the science, the politics and the necrology of those years so long ago. He covers the usual scourges (Iraq, hurricanes, killer spinach and lawyers), the laughs (Congress, "coalition forces" and lawyers) and the criminals (Osama, Winona Ryder and Martha Somebody). Ever the environmentalist, Barry recycles. In this case, his text is largely reclaimed from annual newspaper columns. Because it was just so rotten, the year 2001 is entirely omitted. But an added feature, sure to be of value to students everywhere, is a 30-page survey of the delightful previous millennium, Y1K. Some years are skipped to get to the good parts, and Barry is up to hoary old tricks: non sequiturs, running gags, mish-mashed metaphors. This is history willy-nilly, and, unusual for Barry, it's entirely booger-free. A book that's fearless in the face of fact. First printing of 175,000
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780399154379
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 9/17/2007
  • Pages: 224
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Dave Barry is a humor columnist. For 25 years he was a syndicated columnist whose work appeared in more than 500 newspapers in the United States and abroad. In 1988 he won the Pulitzer Prize for Commentary. Many people are still trying to figure out how this happened.

Dave has also written a total of 25 books, although virtually none of them contain useful information. Two of his books were used as the basis for the CBS TV sitcom "Dave's World," in which Harry Anderson played a much taller version of Dave.

Dave plays lead guitar in a literary rock band called the Rock Bottom Remainders, whose other members include Stephen King, Amy Tan, Ridley Pearson and Mitch Albom. They are not musically skilled, but they are extremely loud. Dave has also made many TV appearances, including one on the David Letterman show where he proved that it is possible to set fire to a pair of men's underpants with a Barbie doll.

In his spare time, Dave is a candidate for president of the United States. If elected, his highest priority will be to seek the death penalty for whoever is responsible for making Americans install low-flow toilets.

Dave lives in Miami, Florida, with his wife, Michelle, a sportswriter. He has a son, Rob, and a daughter, Sophie, neither of whom thinks he's funny.

Biography

In the introduction to Dave Barry Is Not Taking This Sitting Down, the author addresses the desirability of his job as a humor writer and syndicated columnist. "It looks so easy!" he wrote. "...Every year, hundreds of thousands of people try their hand at this demanding profession. After a few months, almost all of them have given up and gone back to the ninth grade."

Yes, Barry is juvenile at times -- but he has achieved the kind of success that can only come from combining a juvenile mind with intelligence, timing, and a keen eye for the absurd. Favorite Barry targets include government inanity, dogs, guys, the Internet, and other oddities of life. He also specializes in weird news and urban myths involving UFO hunters, Pop-Tart science, and toilets. Many of these essays feature the line that has become his catchphrase, "I am not making this up." (Unless, of course, he is introducing something serious and daunting such as a book about the federal government, in which case he reassures that he has made everything up.)

Usually, though, he's not making it up. What he's doing is making it very funny. Whether the target is Congress or commercials, Barry refuses to take anything seriously, least of all himself – but he manages to convey some pretty indicting truths in the process. He's a master of irony and visual punchlines, sometimes interrupting himself with lists, snippets of dialogue, or other on-topic digressions. On the subject of turning 50 and dealing with waning eyesight (a "good thing" about aging, because "you can't read anything"), Barry describes finding restaurant menus suddenly printed "in letters the height of bacteria." He continues: "For some reason, everybody else seemed to be able to read the menus. Not wishing to draw attention to myself, I started ordering my food by simply pointing to a likely looking blur.

ME (pointing to a blur): I'll have this.
WAITER: You'll have "We Do Not Accept Personal Checks"?
ME: Make that medium rare."

Barry has had the most successful and prolific publishing career of any working newspaper columnist, and his humor never seems to go out of style. In 1999, he decided to try his hand at fiction. The result was Big Trouble, a comic thriller à la Carl Hiassen (though filled more with gags than guns) that Entertainment Weekly proclaimed "... not only very funny, [but] sure-footed, even-handed, levelheaded, and other leading book review adjectives." In 2004, he and Ridley Pearson collaborated on Peter and the Starcatchers, a clever prequel to Peter Pan that spawned two additional novels and a series of spin-off children's chapter books.

Along with several other published authors, Barry is a member of the musical group Rock Bottom Remainders. In assessing the band's talents, he has been quoted as saying: "They are not musically skilled, but they are extremely loud."

Good To Know

The Rock Bottom Remainders was originally organized by a publicist to perform at the 1992 American Booksellers Association convention. The members -- which include (or have included) Barry, Stephen King, Amy Tan, Ridley Pearson, Barbara Kingsolver, Mitch Albom, and Matt Groening -- even took their show on the road at one point, turning it into the now out-of-print Mid-Life Confidential: The Rock Bottom Remainders Tour America with Three Chords and an Attitude.

Some things never change: Barry was elected class clown by his Pleasantville High School class in 1965.

Barry got his start in journalism at the Daily Local News in West Chester, Pennsylvania, then worked as a business writing consultant before joining the Miami Herald in 1983.

Attempts to convert Barry's humor to the screen have been less than memorable. The early '90s CBS sitcom based on two of his books and starring Harry Anderson, Dave's World, was short-lived; the spring 2002 release Big Trouble, starring Tim Allen, didn't fare well at the box office. Barry did, however, get a cameo in the latter.

Read More Show Less
    1. Hometown:
      Miami, Florida
    1. Date of Birth:
      July 3, 1947
    2. Place of Birth:
      Armonk, New York
    1. Education:
      B.A. in English, Haverford College, 1969
    2. Website:

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 20 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 20 Customer Reviews
  • Posted January 9, 2010

    Dave Barry's History of the Millennium

    Amusing. Humorous. A bit too glib and often inaccurate.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 12, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Aesops Fables from a Historical Viewpoint (Not)

    If you are easily offended when someone takes the liberty of making your poitical heros look silly, avoid this book. Dave Barry skewers politicians, scientists, and everyone else he can get his hands on, equally. However, he is gentle, finds a way to avoid his silliness becoming barbs or "cheap shots" and ultimately, creates a really offbeat, funny read about some of history's events and personalities. This is not for Rush Limbaugh fans - Dave Barry respects the readers enough to let us draw our own conclusions. Get it, read it, share it, and give it to everyone you know. Politics is too much fun not to do this.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 28, 2007

    Nothing is Sacred and That's a Good Thing

    A small book packed with lots of witisims and nothing and no one is spared, and that includes Iraq. Mr. Barry is an equal opportunity bipartisan satirist whose observations really sum up some of life's absurdities. Lots of fun and a quick read, but don't read too quickly because despite it's small content, there is a lot to digest.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 9, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    VERY FUNNY

    Dave Barry does it again.
    Lots of fun.
    I was laughing my head off while reviewing the millennum so far (and the first one too!).
    Great entertainment.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 25, 2009

    DAVE BARRY SCORES HIGH AGAIN!

    Dave Barry is always funny and satirical. He nails the humor and has a way of noting the quirkiest traits in people he describes in his books. I find myself laughing out loud at times, and always smiling and the read is anything but boring. I hope he keeps the books coming. We need his humor badly nowadays!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 16, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    I love humor books, therefore I love Dave Barry

    Everything by Dave Barry is good, everything! If he writes a shopping list I bet it's hilarious. I also really enjoy Bill Bryson. My latest funny read was a travel adventure by David Jerome called "Roastbeef's Promise." There's my recommendations for a whole lotta laughs!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 28, 2008

    I love the cover!

    I think Dave is a very talented humorist and have enjoyed his work for years.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 15, 2008

    The way the news might as well be written

    I really loved this book, the history of the millenium was hilarious and the way that the florida election officials keep popping up is absolutely hysterical!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 7, 2007

    Vintage Barry

    Barry walked away from his newspaper column over a year ago, and I miss him. However, this book marks a return to form. Barry's funny here, and he hasn't always been funny in his recent books. But the book made me laugh.

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    amusing look at the new millennium and the previous millennium

    This is an amusing look at the new millennium and the previous millennium. In terms of the new one, Dave Barry¿s annual surveys of key events (from 2000-2006) like the attorney invasion of Florida just after the final vote in the 2000 election was cast to the truth behind 2004 Abu Ghraib to 2005 when the fury of females like Katrina, Martha, and Paris owned the world. These segues are overall amusing with some in your face slapstick and others droll and witty however, in fairness some of the entries especially the older ones have lost their jocularity. The previous millennium segment is the highlighting of history from 1000-1999 with entries like the first Gutenberg book was a Danielle Steel heater and the true cost of buying Manhattan Island when credit is unacceptable, maintenance fees are soaring, and $24 is zillions in today¿s present value of money. This is a lighthearted irrelevant look back at the last 1006 years although some liberals might insist the White House will believe Mr. Barry is a great historian stating just the facts (with a few mistakes that cannot be revealed as they are classified) and a lot of illustrations to prove an inconvenient truth like the Da Vinci masterpiece is pizza. --- Harriet Klausner

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 21, 2007

    Hilarious!

    I love everything that Dave Barry writes. It is a certain sense of humor you need to enjoy, but once you get into it you will never put his books down. Loved it!

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    Posted December 24, 2009

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    Posted January 3, 2010

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    Posted December 31, 2009

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    Posted January 18, 2010

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