By Erik Sass, Will Pearson, Mangesh Hattikudur, Harper, $24.99, 432 pages
If you’re considering running for elective office anytime in the next few years, and think your history bump could use a tweak or two – here’s the perfect solution. After all, if a spoon full of sugar makes the medicine go down; mightn’t a generous dollop of humor help the absorption rate of history into students of all ages and persuasions? If only that could be true, then here’s a nomination for the next American History Textbook. It’s written with humor and a bit of sarcasm, and a lot of facts. Interesting facts actually, of far more value than those that have been shoved into our unsuspecting brains for the last 75 or so years.
The Mental Floss History of the United States begins with the period from 23,000BCE to 1715 CE, about which, the less said, the better. After all, it was only after 1715 that things got even livelier. The book is in ten sections with interesting little tidbits mixed in with longer appraisals when necessary for clarification. There’s also an Appendix of our 44 presidents and a comprehensive index.
Irreverent, sometimes even a tad snarky, I promise you won’t regret this voyage into history. Note: It says right there on page 45 that Paul Revere rode to warn the rebels, who gathered at Lexington green and defeated the Brits!
Reviewed by Kelly Ferjutz