smilingrid: History in Five Minutes (Book Review)

July 07, 2014

History in Five Minutes (Book Review)

I'm a big fan of history- whether it takes the form of historical fiction enjoyed on my own or that class I took last semester with four of my roommates, history makes me happy! In terms of scheduling, it's kind of dangerous because, if left to my own devices, my course load would be nothing but reading and writing and essays due at the same time with no possible way to get them done and and... *shudder*

ANYWHO! Let's not think about that now, it's summer! That statement means that my historical consumption leans more towards the first option than the second... and my novels are supplemented by fun things like Drunk History, John Green's Crash Course History, and conversations with Kitty. So, when given the chance to review a conversationally-written and unconventional history book, I jumped on it! (not literally, I don't think my kindle would've survived that)

(speaking of- it's pretty cute, huh? It's new and I'm a bit obsessed, despite being a lover of "real" books)

Who could resist a book titled, "Swindlers, Necromancers, and Real-Life Vampires: An Unconventional Guide to History"? A stronger individual than I, perhaps, but certainly not me!

This book consists of 48 bite-sized chapters on everything from the real life Dr. Frankenstein to Joan of Arc to that time the US government tried to use camels pre pony express. It claims to be a "Reader's Digest approach to history. Only much more entertaining." It's also based on the author's podcast, so I was totes expecting a conversational, tongue-in-cheek book.

It would mostly succeed... if not for the typos. And the general confusing sentence structure brought about by lack of editing. It reads casually and fine for the most part, but then I'll stumble across a passage that is written as if Siri transcribed it for him. As much as this bugs me and makes me want to break out the red pen (#englishmajorprobs), it really only made me put the book down for a stretch of time before I felt refreshed enough to read a bit more. My mom, on the other hand, was outraged that someone would send this out to bloggers for review without making sure it was perfect first- enough that she was trying to form a metaphor about why it was so abhorrent. Thanks for being wounded on my behalf, I guess?

All-in-all, it's a good little e-book that answers history's fun questions- like the ones above and others, like Kim Jong Il's golf score, the world's greatest forgeries, thieves, and imposters, badass ladies of the middle ages and much, much more! I'm going to go see if I like his books that aren't derived from his podcasts better(and lucky me, there's a 2-book freebie in the forward!) 

What's your favorite way to learn about the past?

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

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