Monday, December 30, 2013

The Lowbrow Guide to World History by Michael Powell

I bought this years ago at Barnes & Noble. I started reading it aloud to my wife, but eventually it got buried under some clutter and I lost track of it. When I found it again, I didn't remember it being any good so I didn't start reading again.

Though not exactly a masterwork (and with such at title who would expect it to be?), it's better than I remembered. I tend to enjoy this sort of offbeat, humorous, historical stuff. But I see a danger in it, too: if one doesn't know the real history, it can be hard to tell when the author is joking or over-simplifying something.

Great moment: In a chapter titled "Milestones in the History of Breasts", Powell mentions the infamous Janet Jackson "wardrobe malfunction" at Super Bowl XXXVIII. This is funny because the chairman of the FCC at the time was also named Michael Powell.


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