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Books - History - World - Humor for the Educated

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    Our Dumb Century: The Onion Presents 100 Years of Headlines from America's Finest News Source
    by The Onion, Scott Dikkers, Mike Loew
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
    Paperback (23 March, 1999)
    list price: $16.95 -- our price: $11.53
    (price subject to change: see help)
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    Editorial Review

    Every Wednesday, work at Amazon.com--along with just about every other company connected to the fantastical "information superhighway" invented by Vice President Al Gore and actress Hedy Lamarr--grinds to a halt as employees hasten to read the latest issue of The Onion, America's most popular newspaper based in Madison, Wisconsin. But most of the paper's fans have started reading it only within the last few years, and are sadly unaware of The Onion's mighty journalistic legacy. To combat this cultural illiteracy, Editor in Chief Scott Dikkers and his writing staff have assembled this collection of great front pages from the last hundred years. Here is just a sampling of the headlines:

    A New Century Dawns! McKinley Ushers in Bold New "Coal Age"

    Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria Boasts: "No Man Can Stop Me"

    AWESOME! Nation Wowed by Tremendous Hindenburg Explosion

    Martin Luther King: "I Had a Really Weird Dream Last Night"

    Clinton Denies Lewinsky Allegations: "We Did Not Have Sex, We Made Love," He Says

    And those are just the headlines; the stories themselves are all masterpieces of the journalist's trade. Of course, readers with delicate sensibilities may find some of these accounts a bit too risqu&eacute, and perhaps even tasteless. (Among the potential offenders: Rosa Parks's decision to "screw this bus shit" and take a cab.) But if you're looking for an antidote to all the 20th-century hoopla promulgated by stuffed shirts like Peter Jennings and Harold Evans--not to mention the best history book since1066 and All That--then Our Dumb Century is the one for you. --Ron Hogan ... Read more

    Reviews (203)

    5-0 out of 5 stars OMG is this funny
    When I first discovered The Onion two years ago, I literally woke up with sore abdominal muscles.Not from too many situps, from laughing out loud so hard at the most finely tuned news satire to come along in decades."Our Dumb Century" features the Onion's classic satire newspapers for highlighted dates throughout the 20th century.Headlines include (October 29, 1919) "Teddy Roosevelt Allows Three Others to be Carved into Mountain,"(November 21, 1943) "Loose Lips Sink Ship," and (January 21, 1993) "New President Feels Nation's Pain, Breasts." (The same date has "Tipper Gore Jerks Arrhythmically at Inagural Ball.")And that's just the headlines.The articles take the concepts and run.Not always even, not always hilarious, but there's something worth laughing out loud at on every page.

    If you like to laugh, read The Onion.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Some of the best satire in print
    If you love history and love to laugh, get this book today. It's a good idea to order it over Amazon, too, since in the bookstore you may find yourself leafing through it and laughing too hard to muster the composure to take it to the cash register. That was my experience, anyway.

    The book works as a serviceable social and political history of the 20th century that manages to be to be laugh-out-loud-funny on every page. The headlines are hilarious, and the accompanying stories play the joke out to perfection, sprinkling in endless references and allusions. If it happened in the 20th century and mattered to anyone, the Onion has found a way to satirize it in these pages -- whether you thought it deserved it or not.

    Our Dumb Century's combination of historical acumen and humorous insight is worthy of Mark Twain.

    5-0 out of 5 stars And don't forget the graphic design
    Genius book, as others have noted. But the equally genius graphic design also deserves mention. If you look at the book carefully, you'll appreciate how the designers evolve the look of these "front pages," parodying newspaper design from the early part of the century through the USA-TODAYification process that took place in the '80s.

    One example: The eagle featured in the title banner at the top of each page is suddenly dropped in the late "psychedelic" '60s and replaced with an onion with eagle wings. Suitably trippy, and anti-establishment.

    Terrific. ... Read more

    Isbn: 0609804618
    Subjects:  1. American Satire And Humor    2. American wit and humor    3. Form - Parodies    4. General    5. Headlines    6. Humor    7. Newspapers    8. Topic - Political    9. Humor / Political   


    Non Campus Mentis: World History According to College Students
    by Anders Hendriksson
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
    Hardcover (01 September, 2001)
    list price: $12.95
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    Editorial Review

    Be prepared to weep as you read Non Campus Mentis: World History According to College Students, a horrifically hilarious compendium of actual North American college student essays. Learn about the victims of the Black Death (who "grew boobs on their necks"), the Automaton Empire, Martin Luther King's famous "If I Had a Hammer" speech, the Iran Hostess Crisis, Zorroastrologism (the "duelist" religion "founded by Zorro"), and Joan of Ark, Noah's wife, at rest on Mt. Arafat. Meet Dim El Sum of Korea, the Vestigal Virgins, "dedicated to burning the internal flame," and Hitler, who "shot himself in the bonker." Did you know a position as "lady-in-mating helped a young girl's chances for a marriage," and "the assignation of Archduke Ferdman gave sweet relief to mounting tensions," or that "the major cause of the Civil War is when slavery spread its ugly testicles across the West"?

    Well, you'd better buckle down and learn, then! --Tim Appelo ... Read more

    Reviews (71)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Sadly Funny
    "Non Campus Mentis" is a short entertaining volume filled with the mistaken knowledge of college students.Henriksson has compiled a hilarious collection of mistakes that students have written in their college term papers.However, at the same time that you find yourself laughing at their humorous wrongs, you realize how truly sad their mistaken knowledge is.

    "Non Campus Mentis" is arranged into different eras of history.It weaves students' mistakes in with doctored pictures of historical figures and places.It makes for a funny read, even if it is better to read in small spurts - perfect toilet reading.

    As entertaining as these mistakes are, what makes this whole colelction rather sad, is the knowledge that these students who wrote these humorous passages have no clue that they're wrong.It demonstrates a sad state of affairs in American education.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Selected history from College and Graduate Students
    This is a selected collection of history papers by Collage students. They have been adjusted for publication and sorted into 26 categories, from "Hindsight into the Future" to "The Age of Now". The items are full of misunderstandings and euphemisms.
    Some samples are:

    * Christianity was just another mystery cult until Jesus was born.
    * Hannabelle crossed the Alps with a herd of elephants and thus invaded Africa.
    * The five European grade powers were England, France, Germany, Russia, and Australia-Mongolia.

    At fires it seems dump but then you get hooked and almost want to top them.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Hilarious....unfortunately
    This book contains some incredibly funny statements of the absurd. For example:

    "In 1937 Lenin revolted Russia after the Germans sent him home on a spoiled train."
    "Columbus came to America to install rule by dead white males over the native peoples."
    "Austria-Hungary was weakened by the problem of ethical diversity."
    "Deism was the belief that God made the world and then stepped on it."

    ...and 138 pages of more silliness (in the hardcover version anyway). All simply hilarious - and a terrible, terrible reminder that the generation which will be in charge of the world for the next 40 or so years is full of total morons. When viewed as such, the book is a horrifying look at our future, a future where politicians can't even find Paris on a map and can't tell you what George Washington did.

    But that's too depressing. So just read it for fun; you'll love it! One of the funniest "compilation" humor books since "Anguished English" (which is not to be missed). ... Read more

    Isbn: 0761122745
    Subjects:  1. American wit and humor    2. Form - Essays    3. General    4. History    5. Humor    6. World - General    7. Humor / General   

    Decline and Fall of Practically Everybody (Nonpareil Book)
    by Will Cuppy
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
    Paperback (01 March, 1998)
    list price: $14.95 -- our price: $10.17
    (price subject to change: see help)
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    Reviews (27)

    5-0 out of 5 stars the funniest history book ever written
    I must have read this book twenty times at least, and I never get tired of it.Every time it seems just as funny, as Will Cuppy tells us about the lives of historical characters, from Cheops ( or khufu) through to Catherine the Great, taking in such diverse characters as Cleopatra, Attila the hun, Lady Godiva, henry the eight, John Smith, and miles Standish. His wonderful dry comments are hilarious, as on Charlemagne who was born in the dark ages when people were not very bright.They have been getting brighter and brighter ever since, until finally the are like they are now'Or on the American revolution , started because the colonists had to pay takes to which their consent had not been asked ' today we pay taxesbut our consent has been asked, and we have told the government to go ahead and tax us all they want to.We like it'This is a sublime book, the one I'd take with me to a desert island if i had to choose only one.

    5-0 out of 5 stars man, will cuppy...
    is amazing.

    please do yourselves a favor and run out and read this book. right now. I'm serious. it's for your own good.

    and when you've finished it and love it as much as I do, you can send me flowers and thank you cards, because I did you the great favor of recommending that you read it.

    you better be buying it already. right now.

    stop reading this and hurry up.

    you're welcome.

    d <3

    1-0 out of 5 stars Will Cuppy is to history what Mad Magazine is to literature
    By page two I felt cheated.It is poorly written, in a smirking quasi-intellectual style that is neither funny nor educational.

    This is an awful book.Don't buy it unless you have an off balance table and you need something just this size to slip under the table leg. ... Read more

    Isbn: 0879235144
    Sales Rank: 306885
    Subjects:  1. American Satire And Humor    2. Anecdotes, facetiae, satire, e    3. Anecdotes, facetiae, satire, etc    4. Form - Parodies    5. History    6. History - General History    7. History: American    8. Humor    9. Reference    10. World history   


    The Devil's Dictionary
    by Ambrose Bierce, Roy Morris Jr.
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
    Paperback (01 November, 1998)
    list price: $13.95 -- our price: $11.16
    (price subject to change: see help)
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    Reviews (36)

    3-0 out of 5 stars an ABRIDGED version
    I'd skip this and purchase the UNABRIDGED version.Some of the definitions left out in this version are among Bierce's best.Also, the complete work is not so long: no reason to abridge something that in full length is only 100 or so pages long.

    5-0 out of 5 stars An American classic
    This should be on your shelves right next to Roget's and Bartlett's. It's not just one of the funniest assemblages in the English language, it's a standard reference. Although written over a hundred years ago, most of it is just as fresh as today's headlines.

    Patriotism, n.: Combustible rubbish ready to the torch of anyone ambitious to illuminate his name.

    It's cynical, literate, and sharply pointed. With over 1000 definitions, it has something to say about most of the human condition.

    Jealous, adj.: Unduly concerned about that which can be lost only if it is not worth keeping.

    Somehow, Bierce maintains good humor, of a sort, throughout the entire listing. That makes it equally valueable no matter how you use it: read straight through, flipped to a random page, or used to answer specific questions. And of course, it offers the perfect description of every term.

    Dictionary, n.: A malevolent literary device for cramping the growth of language and making it hard and inelastic. This dictionary, however, is a most useful work.


    2-0 out of 5 stars Avoid This Incomplete Edition
    The Bloomsbury edition illustrated by Ralph Steadman is ABRIDGED. Do not purchase unless you are buying it for the drawings. ... Read more

    Isbn: 0195126270
    Sales Rank: 210609
    Subjects:  1. American - General    2. Dictionaries    3. Dictionaries - General    4. English language    5. Form - Parodies    6. History: American    7. Humor    8. Reference    9. Semantics    10. United States - Civil War    11. Vocabulary    12. Literary & Linguistic Reference Works    13. Other prose: from c 1900 -    14. USA   


    To-Do Lists Of The Dead
    by Jonathan Katz
    Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
    Paperback (August, 2000)
    list price: $7.95 -- our price: $7.95
    (price subject to change: see help)
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    Reviews (4)

    2-0 out of 5 stars A half-hour's worth of groan inducing one-liners...
    I've seen Jonathan Katz interviewed on TV, and he is really really funny. Unfortunately, this book offers more "guffaws" than real laughter. The to-do lists have a *high* groan factor, such as these gems: Jim Henson: Try talking without socks on my hands; Norman Rockwell: Submit painting of severed head to "Saturday Evening Post," just to see their reaction; or Dwight Einsenhower: Rework "I'm Fond of Ike" campaign slogan. I bought this as a bathroom book that we could read for a while, and I read the whole thing in less than half an hour. Kind of a drag, I was expecting much more from him. I guess this could be a good $10 office grab bag gift, but that's about it.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Funny but insubstantial
    If you're wondering what Jonathan Katz has been doing since Dr. Katz -- you'll have to keep on wondering because this book couldn't have taken more than a few hours to write. I'm usually a huge fan of Katz's work, but this one isn't quite up to his usual standards. Katz tries to carry the book on what is essentially a one-joke premise, which quickly wears thin. Don't get me wrong - it is a funny book, just a little insubstantial. If you're looking for the wit and offbeat humor you usually get from Katz, this light volume may disappoint. Still, (as one reviewer noted) it's not a bad way to waste a Sunday afternoon.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Dry Wit
    This is a very enjoyable book, short and funny. It covers dead celebrities and others, and shows a dry wit. Not a howler of a book, but a great laugh nonetheless. ... Read more

    Isbn: 0740700359
    Sales Rank: 537058
    Subjects:  1. American wit and humor    2. General    3. Humor    4. Humor / General   


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