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You Did What?: Mad Plans and Great Historical Disasters
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You Did What?: Mad Plans and Great Historical Disasters

3.1  ·  Rating Details ·  144 Ratings  ·  19 Reviews
History has never been more fun than it is in this fact-filled compendium of historical fiascoes and embarrassingly bad ideas.

Throughout history, the rich and powerful, and even just the dim-witted, have made horrifically bad decisions that have had resounding effects on our world. From kings to corporate leaders, from captains to presidents, no one is immune to bad decisi
ebook, 304 pages
Published October 13th 2009 by HarperCollins Publishers (first published 2004)
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Sep 18, 2007 Jason rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
So this is one of those books you'd probably never read on an airplane, but it makes for great toilet perusal. It's more or less a series of 3 to 5 page overviews of some of history's great foul-ups, missteps, and general bunglings, from the Trojan War to new Coke.
Sriparna N
It was not as funny as I had hoped it would be. Nevertheless, it is a well-researched piece and is extremely informative. For instance, it took more than 40 seconds for Titanic's crew to steer its starboard side away from the iceberg because it was cruising at a speed of 21 knots. In another instance, it was Thomas Austin's desire to hunt rabbits that gave rise to the Australian rabbit disaster. Moreover, the topics selected were quite diverse - from Trojan horse to Idi Amin's rule - it covers p ...more
Jun 27, 2013 Greg rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: historical
As with many books of this type, the spice is in the title, not the content. There really wasn't anything that was shocking, surprising, or really interesting for that matter, in this book. Each piece was rather short, just a couple of pages, and was jammed with so many details and names that the main point was lost. Many of the stories probably could have been a book of their own (at least a hefty chapter). If there had been more focus in each piece, the book might have been better, but as it i ...more
Nov 27, 2014 Dj rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An interesting look at things that have gone wrong throughout history. The Editor picks some really choice examples of things just going wrong due to poor decisions. There are some obvious ones of course. Like the Titanic. But there are others that are much more insightful. Like Napoleon's choice of who he left in command of Paris and who he took to Waterloo. Some of the stuff in this book is probably something that is known by the reader, but since it has so much to offer there is sure to be so ...more

this book tried to be quirky and fun but it wasn't anything special. Most of the stories and events described in the book weren't that interesting and the writing whasn't that funny but rather messy.
Jan 02, 2014 Dave rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A good book in this line of things, some tales I already knew but a lot unknow to me. I would recommend this book.
David Sarkies
Jul 05, 2013 David Sarkies rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People who like these books
Shelves: history
Sometimes laughter is the best medicine
5 July 2013

I used to really like these type of books but you end up getting to a point where accounts of people's stupidity simply cease to be a laughing matter. Mind you, one review of this book almost read like it was an advertisement – who would have thought history could be so funny? I guess the reason is that since the world can be such a harsh mistress at times that you have to take it in one of two ways: deadly serious and become overwhelmed by the
Jan 31, 2008 Chris rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
Ahhh... a nice palate-cleanser.

This is a fun book, even though it's not really new. It plots some of the great errors in history, from the Trojan Horse to New Coke, occasionally meditating on the effects of those errors. For example, was the Russian Revolution given an assist by a young Winston Churchill? Was No, No, Nannette really worth 86 years to the Red Sox? And why on Earth didn't Nixon burn the tapes?

The chapters are short, and most of the stories are familiar, from William Harrison's rej
Dec 27, 2008 Cindy rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, 999, history
This was a collection of really bad decisions. They ranged from the Trojan War, to Napoleon's invasion of Russia to New Coke. Some were more fun to read than others. There were a couple in there that were too long and didn't seem to fit the rest of the stories. And it was fun to get to a few things that I actually remembered.

Nothing deep and meaningful, but a mostly fun collection.
Jul 01, 2012 Adam rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fun book. A couple essays that were really well written. Some facts I wasn't aware of. Details I hadn't known before. Worth reading, but not going into my library.
Dec 25, 2007 Otter rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's okay. A little more casual with the historical supporting evidence than some of my other reads, but still enjoyable.
Jan 18, 2012 Trevor rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Bit boring to be honest, most of the stories are already common knowledge to most with a modicum of education about them.... A few "oh really?" moments, but the rest, nah.
Dharamdas Nankani
Dharamdas Nankani rated it really liked it
May 15, 2016
Emily rated it liked it
Jul 31, 2013
John Turano
John Turano rated it really liked it
Dec 05, 2015
Tania rated it it was ok
Sep 04, 2015
Sep 29, 2010 Jennifer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very funny take on stupid things people in history have done
Bob rated it liked it
Jul 14, 2012
Dave rated it it was amazing
Sep 28, 2015
Elizabeth rated it really liked it
Jul 07, 2012
Jared rated it really liked it
Aug 01, 2007
Kady Sykora
Kady Sykora rated it liked it
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Sep 22, 2014
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Jul 18, 2015
Becky Gidley
Becky Gidley rated it liked it
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Jul 22, 2014
Mandy rated it liked it
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Greg Burcham
Greg Burcham rated it liked it
Dec 30, 2008
Denise rated it liked it
May 22, 2015
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Bill Fawcett has been a professor, teacher, corporate executive, and college dean. His entire life has been spent in the creative fields and managing other creative individuals. He is one of the founders of Mayfair Games, a board and role-play gaming company. As an author, Fawcett has written or coauthored over a dozen books and dozens of articles and short stories. As a book packager, a person wh ...more
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