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Badass: A Relentless Onslaught of the Toughest Warlords, Vikings, Samurai, Pirates, Gunfighters, and Military Commanders to Ever Live
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Badass: A Relentless Onslaught of the Toughest Warlords, Vikings, Samurai, Pirates, Gunfighters, and Military Commanders to Ever Live

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3.94 of 5 stars 3.94  ·  rating details  ·  1,002 ratings  ·  181 reviews

An unstoppable collection of the most hardcore figures who ever strapped on chain mail and ran screaming into battle

Throughout history—from the bone-crushing age of antiquity to the sack-tearing modern era—there have been larger-than-life ass-kickers with a natural talent for unleashing their epic bloodlust on anyone who crossed them. They built empires, smashed armies,

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Published 2009 by Audible, Inc.
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,827)
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Stephen
History…complete with locker-room colloquialisms, nut scratching and the occasional fist and/or chest bump.

This is less a history book and more like a drunk conversation during a football game with your college roommate who’s majoring in history and pulling straight A’s despite living almost exclusively on Big Macs and bong resin. This is world history taught by the triumvirate of Sylvester Stallone, Samuel Jackson and John Madden.

....and I thought it was sooooooooooooooooo much fun.

Ben Thomps
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Ben Thompson
Sep 24, 2009 Ben Thompson rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  (Review from the author)  ·  review of another edition
I gave myself five stars in a flagrant, unabashed display of shameless self-promotion.
J.M.
Ben Thompson has selected certain badass individuals from history and summarized their no-holds-barred lives by putting them up against his own '90s pop culture measuring stick for badasses. He covers 40 badasses through Antiquity, the Middles Ages, the Age of Gunpowder, and the Modern Era, and inside you will read on figures from Ramses to Vlad the Impaler to the Red Baron to Bruce Lee. In short, this book is enlightening at times, LOL-funny at times, and overall just face-explodingly victoriou ...more
Scotty Schrier
Okay, kid gloves are off. You take the title of this book and multiply that bitch by like 10 or something. Then, go and punch a shark in the junk. And you STILL won't be as Badass as this book.

To come close you'd have to conquer a nation...or TWO...and then do a fricken backflip for no fucking reason other than to kick GOD himself in his bearded chin. (You know...to prove that you could.)After that, you'd have to survive some insurmountable odds...like WAY worse than that 300 shit you saw. Only
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Dxmaniac69
A history book that describes various kick ass people in detail? Sounds like a great idea! Too bad the execution sucked.

The problem is that the writer is too busy using modern hyperbole to describe each person that it just becomes silly. For instance in one description the viking Harald Hardrada is described as doing a top rope elbow drop, while in another Miyamoto Musashi is described as rocking out to 80s metal. Seriously, it ends up feeling like a 14 year old boy wrote the book. And because o
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Keith Wick
This was such a ridiculously fun book to read. If it were appropriate to use in a public high school to teach students to get excited about history, I'd totally recommend it for the age group--especially teenage boys.

Now, I'm no longer a teenage boy myself, but I do appreciate obnoxious sarcasm from time to time, and I certainly enjoy a good hyper-masculine, testosterone-fueled look back at historical figures.

Combine that with a proclivity for words one rarely hears in polite conversation and a
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Monk
Let me be clear on this: This book is rude, profane, and is directed to people with the emotional maturity of a seventh grader.
And I laughed until it hurt.
What I imagined was some marginally literate surfer dude who was given an encyclopedia of military history, and who keeps rushing into your dorm room screaming, "You gotta get a load of THIS!" and then paraphrases what he read about some skull-crushing, throat-tearing Conan the Barbarian type. The exuberance and enthusiasm of the author jumps
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Tom
I thought this book might just be a colorful title, but it turns out the title was just an indicator of everything that was inside. The author took a bunch of historic figures, most of them military but a handful of law enforcement types, Nikola Tesla, and Bruce Lee, then wrote up biographies explaining why they were badasses. If he didn't write like a 14 year old wrestling fan, it might have been better. Sadly, his style seems to repeat itself a lot, with goofy lists, odd similes, and lots of r ...more
Jessica
Pretty much the best book ever written. Ever.
Miroku Nemeth
I like to read books that will augment my understanding of history, and sometimes much can be gained from an entertaining read that may not be too academically heavy.
Though I should have known from the title, the rhetorical style of the author is something akin to a fourteen-year-old comic book nerd who has learned a few words of how “real men” talk and parrots them ad nauseam in attempt at Spike TV-type “manliness”. A few pages in, it becomes extremely tiresome, and it is sustained throughout
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Dayle
As is pretty typical with anyone who uses humour in writing, people are bound to hate it for being too 'this' or not enough 'that'. And obviously (as I can see from other reviewers) I'm not the first to tout Ben Thompson's first book as being a little over the top, but only at certain times. But I'm more than a little suspicious that this book had so many bad reviews despite the fact that it distinctly reminds me of movies like the Hangover, Wedding Crashers, and anything on the Spike channel, e ...more
Erik
What do you do with an honors graduate with degrees in history and political science? Why, write a book, of course! Thompson proves that BA degrees aren’t as useless as they seem by penning a raucous, rollicking ride through history filled with testosterone-fueled back-handed badassery. Although there doesn’t seem to be much rhyme or reason as to how Thompson chose his historical subjects – some are genocidal maniacs, and others true patriots defending themselves from such people – Thompson’s wr ...more
Gerry O'Malley
Sep 24, 2012 Gerry O'Malley rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Any 12 year old boy trapped in the body of a 50 year old man.
This is one of the funniest books I have ever read.

I've read a lot of books by stand-up comics and most of them aren't funny. The stand-up act just doesn't translate to the written word (Denis Leary is an example, Jim Norton is an exception). On his webpage Ben Thompson describes himself as "a full-time corporate wage slave who spends his spare time writing about things he thinks are badass" and he runs an hilarious website called "badassoftheweek.com" that should be required reading for every
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James Piper
Coarse, crude, offensive.

It's history meets shock disc jockey. That might work if there was something clever in the shock but it's pedestrian and repetitive. It also uses references to US culture and society that I'm not familiar with and hence I'm lost by it.

Here's some irony. He writes about how the Spartans would banish "pussies" to Athens, those who wanted to study and read books instead of being a Spartan who focused on being a warrior. It seems the author agrees with the Spartans and yet
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Mr. Kovach
This book was very enjoyable. I finished reading it while my wife was having surgery on her broken leg, and it helped me take my mind off of being very worried about her. Books can do that! Thankfully, the surgery went well and the book was terrific. If you love history you will probably like this book. It is about the greatest military commanders and fighters of history. It portrays them in a way that is very fun to read, with basically a "kick ass" attitude. I'm not sure I'm supposed to say th ...more
Steve
Thomson brilliantly and in a very, funny fashion presents the lives of those individuals who proved that the meek better just get out of the way because they aren't going to rule a darn thing. Not the nicest group of folks you would want to encounter, but certainly people who made a name for themselves, often despite huge odds. From soldiers and pirates to heroes and rogues you won't be bored. Thomson did do his research, but be prepared for some not so historically accurate "dialogue". Highly r ...more
Rachel
This book is less of a history book and more of what your drunk college buddy majoring in history who doesn't know how to talk to girls would tell you at a party while swinging a beer-can sword and wearing an inflatable viking helmet. There's a good selection of some of the biggest badasses in history (a few of which I wouldn't have chosen myself, but that's an opinion thing- after all, he only had forty slots) and it's very much written in a kind of colloquial, which I've always thought is a gr ...more
Jason
Badass is an attempt to shed light on some of history’s tougher characters and what they did that made them so tough. I bought it during a Kindle $3 sale, and it had good reviews, so why not? Well, because it’s quite arguably the worst book I’ve ever read on any subject. There are no redeeming characteristics to Badass. It’s written for a inattentive, developmentally disable, seven year-old boy whose life experience consists of killing video game enemies. The pop culture references and hyperbole ...more
Shawn  Stone
This wasn't so much “bad-ass” as just plain bad. Take a good concept; in this case, recounting the lives of some of history’s biggest bad-asses and then liberally salt each commentary with inaccurate facts, irrelevant details and the lamest humour this side of a Ron Burgundy movie.

Quotes such as - “Alaric the Bold would agree to leave (Rome) in exchange for 30,000 pounds of silver, 4,000 silk robes, 3,000 pounds of pepper and 666 jelly donuts" or “(Netafari) was allegedly so smoking hot that an
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Matthew Perry
I am a history teacher and usually am pretty picky about what I read. I saw this book at my local bookstore and thought it looked really interesting. While the writing is juvenile I find that is what gives the book its greatest appeal. Granted I am a young guy that gets most of the jokes and the words used but I think that this would be an awesome book for some high school kids to read. I would not most likely let my kids read it because of the language but it speaks to them. It teaches the cont ...more
Tim
Enjoyable... some parts are funny enough to make me spit milk out my nose (literally). I found that I ended up reading this book with my laptop open and Wikipedia up in my browser, just to fact-check each account, and every time, I said, "Son of a gun... that actually HAPPENED??!!" Thompson's style is a bit over the top, but this book was a quick read, and thoroughly enjoyable.
Vikram Chatterji
Gritty, tough and surprisingly informative !
Ben Thompson has a very pedestrian and kickass form of narration that makes reading about all the Badasses a LOT of fun.

It covers the ages from Ramses to Chandragupta Maurya to Jonathan Netanyahu, by dividing the book into four eras.
Makes history so much easier to consume.
Robert Dunlap
This one is a keeper. Thompson makes history modern and funny and memorable. I especially like the five tips in the beginning of the book for what makes a badass, as they come from all times, races and creeds. You want to be like the people in the book, if not as bloodthirsty in some cases.
J.D.
I laughed. Hard. I told my friends about the book, with illustrative examples. They laughed hard as well. You'll laugh hard, too.

And, as Bill Cosby used to say about the "Fat Albert" show, if you're not careful, you might learn something before it's done.
Louis
Jan 18, 2014 Louis rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Action history fans & teen boys.
In picking up this book you may notice dampness, don’t worry that’s just the testosterone dripping from every page. This book gives around 5 pages each to a series of historical figures (heroes and villains) that were the toughest of the tough, the “larger-than-life ass-kickers” people that we would label as a Badass!

The authors writes his overviews in a very over-the-top manner. Some examples:

- …so Duke William raised an army and started beating the crap out of everyone just to prove to his peo
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Olethros
-Revisión cercana y casi “poligonera” de ciertos personajes más o menos conocidos.-

Género. Ensayo.

Lo que nos cuenta. Ligera aproximación a diferentes figuras de la historia (que no siempre de la Historia) de muy distinto calibre, que para el autor encarnan distintas versiones de lo que debería ser un “tipo duro”, con una revisión previa de lo que él entiende por ese concepto y un viaje posterior por diferentes periodos de nuestra historia.

¿Quiere saber más de este libro, sin spoilers? Visite:

ht
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Scott
Awesome. Just awesome.
Abraham Thunderwolf
I'm a big fan of getting books from the library. Part of it stems from the fact that I'd rather spend my money on beer and sandwiches. I know, I know, I am a terrible person. I will tell you about how terrible I am freely. Part of it is because I think it's neat to find stuff in books, Badass didn't come with a shopping list/bookmark but a warning:
This is a POOR, ie, BAD, WRITER This is a STUPIDLY written book. This book seems to be written for ignorant, low IQ teenaged boys.

Scattered throughou
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Igor
If you want a humorous look at some serious badasses in history this book is about as good as it gets. True to it's title it tells short histories of some extremely well-known (Blackbeard, Genghis Khan, etc) toughs, to the lesser known ones as well. Each profile gives a brief overview of why they're famous, plus some exploits to emphasize their 'badassness', along with some interesting side-notes placing them in history.
I actually listened to this book while at the gym, and it was perfect for t
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Lisa
Oct 23, 2011 Lisa rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: adolescent boys (and girls) who love history, geography, and testosterone
Recommended to Lisa by: it recommended itself
This is the sort of book Mark Leyner would write, if he were into history instead of gastroenterology; a profane, provocative survey of the world's greatest movers and shakers that will suck you in and send you spinning on a cross cultural thrill ride, beginning in antiquity with Ramses 11 "Everything I attempted I succeeded...I found enemy chariots scattering before my horses...Their hearts quaked with fear when they saw me and their arms went limp." I'm currently at Chandragupta, whose "milita ...more
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I write stuff about badasses.
More about Ben Thompson...
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“We don't know much about our hero before 325 BCE-he just sort of materialized out of thin air like a face-melting UFO or a vengeful, homicidal rainbow, but apparently he had some serious beef with people in charge...” 1 likes
“These invincible barbarian warriors committed acts of untold cruelty upon the unsuspecting citizenry, slaughtering all those before them in a frenzy of blood and fire and then drinking their chocolate milk right out of the carton.” 0 likes
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