The Mental Floss History of the United States: The (Almost) Complete and (Entirely) Entertaining Story of America
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The Mental Floss History of the United States: The (Almost) Complete and (Entirely) Entertaining Story of America

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by Erik Sass, Will Pearson, Mangesh Hattikudur
     
 

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Smarter than your old history teacher, funnier than the founding fathers, and more American than apple pie, The Mental Floss History of the United States is an almost (but not entirely) comprehensive primer on American history (or at least, the good stuff). From the editors of MentalFloss.com and mental_floss magazine—with its tagline:

Overview

Smarter than your old history teacher, funnier than the founding fathers, and more American than apple pie, The Mental Floss History of the United States is an almost (but not entirely) comprehensive primer on American history (or at least, the good stuff). From the editors of MentalFloss.com and mental_floss magazine—with its tagline: “Feel smart again”—comes an American History text packed with hilarious (but true!) trivia written in the smart-aleck tradition of The Mental Floss History of the World, Mental Floss Presents In the Beginning, and the first mental_floss book, Condensed Knowledge. Perfect for trivia buffs, history lovers, college students, and anyone who likes to laugh and learn. United States history has never been so fun.

Editorial Reviews

AmericanProfile.com
“A cavalcade of delicious facts, surprising trivia and refreshingly honest, hilariously smart-alecky insight that finally sets the wayward historical record straight.”
Financial Times
“[B]reezy, bullet-pointed and well illustrated.”
Seattle Post-Intelligencer
“[M]anages to educate and entertain simultaneously, which is a win-win for everybody!”

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780061928222
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
10/05/2010
Pages:
420
Product dimensions:
5.80(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.30(d)

Meet the Author

Erik Sass is a journalist who covers the media business from his main base of operations in Los Angeles, with branch offices around the country. When not writing for mental_floss, he reports on magazines, newspapers, radio, and billboard advertising for MediaPost.com.

A shy, withdrawn child ("loser"), Erik spent many of his formative years reading about history. Ironically, the knowledge he acquired transformed him from mopey misfit to man-about-town; now much sought after for his historical anecdotes, he is considered an indispensable conversational ornament to any party attended by persons of substance.

A giver, Erik also works with mental_floss to share these benefits with others. In addition to the present volume, he was a contributing author for mental_floss presents: Forbidden Knowledge, and also writes about history for mental_floss magazine.

Erik has not vomited on the shoes of government officials or their spouses; however, he has vomited on his own shoes more than once.

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Mental Floss History of the United States 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 26 reviews.
FeatheredQuillBookReviews More than 1 year ago
History textbooks can be so dry and dull; page after page of names, dates, and events, with little additional text to spice things up. A person's eyes can glaze over in boredom. Add to that the fact that so many of today's students know painfully little about their own country's history, and you can see that there is a need to get historical facts into the hands (and heads!) of today's readers. Enter Erik Sass and the Mental Floss series. Together they take an irreverent romp through the history of the United States, which will keep readers reading and educate them at the same time. The Mental Floss History of the United States takes the reader from 23,000 BCE (yes, really) through 2010. While there's not a lot of "stuff" happening during those early years, it nonetheless offers a glimpse of the country's pre-history. The bulk of this book covers historical events that we should all be familiar with, from Columbus to President Obama. While traditional history books tend to be big, glossy (and heavy!) tomes, this one is much lighter but has no full-color photos to liven things up. For that matter, there are no photos in this book, just some drawings and charts spattered throughout. What it does have is a lot of historical facts, covered in fairly brief (typically one to three pages) articles, to keep in sync with today's short attention spans. Combine that with the author's tongue-in-check way of explaining things, with a hefty dose of humor, and young readers should find learning history a, relatively, fun experience. To dress things up a bit, this text has a lot of blue blocked boxes, with interesting facts, quotes, and tidbits. "By The Numbers" and "What Happened When" breaks down various topics into easily digestible factoids while many topics are introduced by a lie, ex., "America defeated Nazi Germany with help from its pluck British sidekick," followed by "The Truth: The Soviet Union defeated Hitler - pretty much by itself...by the time the United States joined the effort, the Soviet Union had already done most of the work" (pg. 236) followed by a detailed explanation of the truth. There are also profiles of numerous historical figures as well as all 44 presidents. There are a few areas where I found myself disagreeing with the author. For example, while discussing President Clinton's Welfare Reform Bill, he notes that Clinton and the Republican congress that passed the bill took credit for the welfare rolls dropping from 14.4 million recipients to just 4.1 million in twelve years. Sass argues that ".the number dropped primarily thanks to economic growth, which picked up halfway through Clinton's first term. This fortunate coincidence." (pg. 360) Clinton's supporters may wish to give more credit to their favorite president. These are small quibbles, however, which I believe actually give more credence to this book. It was so well written and enjoyable to read that I did, in fact, read it, absorb it, and found myself debating with the book. Quill says: An excellent, and fun way, to learn about history, whether you're a high school student or a "history challenged" adult.
MisterHistory More than 1 year ago
Truly entertaining and informationally fun.
Mauz_Mom More than 1 year ago
These are little-known facts about the history of our country and it makes learning history much more interesting. If my history teachers had included these examples in our school work maybe I would have been a better student. Happy to see that our forefathers were not all saints.
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Reader1793 More than 1 year ago
i had a teacher who taught history like this...the best class ever! you will love this book. an overall fantastic and comprehensive read - pEnGuIn, from her NOOKcolor
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Higly recommend this book, you'll learn a lot of facts about american history in a very entertaining way. I wish they'd taught history like that at school, definetly would remember more
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