Everyone has a bad day once in a while, and as the saying goes, misery loves company. Bad Days in History: A Gleefully Grim Chronicle of Misfortune, Mayhem, and Misery for Every Day of the Year is a history book for those people possessing a darker sense of humor. The book is organized like a calendar, with a grim event for each day of the year, based on the date on which the event originally occurred. Each event ranges from just a few sentences to a page or two, with dates of events that span the majority of recorded human history.
The stories themselves range from benign embarrassments, death and dismemberment, to cultural and societal upheavals. Musicians are blinded, priceless artwork is destroyed, Kings and Queens are beheaded, and presidents are assassinated. People are also punched in the nose, Oprah’s film was a dud, and two million gallons of molasses swept over parts of Boston. There is no theme beyond people having some really terrible days, so the tone jumps around quite a bit, having a more lighthearted historical mention right before a piece on graphic murders. Some of the stories are familiar, but a good portion of the collection in the book is either completely obscure, or contain much less mainstream information.
”Plucked from all eras of history, and from around the globe, the bad days in this book are intended to amuse, tantalize, and enlighten – without being predictable.”
The variety of history included within the book makes Bad Days in History an engaging read, and very difficult to put down despite its varied pacing. While it is definitely not for the faint of heart due to the somewhat graphic and morbid nature involved in many of the stories, there is plenty in this volume to love and readers may be surprised by the amount of history that was left out of their high school and college courses. A perfect gift for the history buff, or that one friend who seems to know the most random facts, Bad Days in History is a wonderful morbid and entertaining collection.
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