Book Review: Stupid American History: Tales of Stupidity, Strangeness, and Mythconceptions, Leland Gregory (2009)

April 3rd, 2009 11:59 pm by Kelly Garbato

“Move over Colbert and Stewart” – are they serious!?

two out of five stars

(Full disclosure: I received a free copy of this book for review through Library Thing’s Early Reviewer program.)

I requested a copy of STUPID AMERICAN HISTORY through Library Thing’s Early Reviewer program. Based on the book’s description, I was hoping that it might be a hybrid of James Loewen’s classic, LIES MY TEACHER TOLD ME, and The Daily Show’s satirical American history “textbook,” AMERICA: THE BOOK. Unfortunately, STUPID AMERICAN HISTORY lacks both the wisdom (not to mention, attention to detail and sources) of LIES MY TEACHER TOLD ME and the snarky humor of AMERICA: THE BOOK.

STUPID AMERICAN HISTORY is really more a collection of anecdotes and (unreferenced) factoids than a comprehensive book. As such, it lends itself better to bathroom reading as opposed to a thorough, cover-to-cover reading. It might make for a cute gift or stocking stuffer – the pages are made to resemble faux parchment paper, and there’s lots of ornamentation around the text – but it’s not really suitable for a history buff. Each “mythconception,” for example, is presented on a single page – and most don’t even take up the whole page!

STUPID AMERICAN HISTORY reminds me of those little paperback books of “odd facts” I used to enjoy…in junior high school. Which is fine, if that’s what you’re after. But if you’re looking for a debunking or reimagining of American history, check out James Loewen’s LIES MY TEACHER TOLD ME – or any of his books, for that matter.

(This review was originally published on Amazon and Library Thing, and is also available on Goodreads. Please click through and vote it helpful if you think it so!)

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