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Stupid History: Tales of Stupidity, Strangeness, and Mythconceptions Throughout the Ages
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Stupid History: Tales of Stupidity, Strangeness, and Mythconceptions Throughout the Ages

3.26 of 5 stars 3.26  ·  rating details  ·  1,303 ratings  ·  225 reviews
Why exactly is Paul Revere revered? Was the lightbulb really Thomas Edison's bright idea?

* Best-selling author Leland Gregory employs his masterful wit to expose historical myths, faux "facts," strange events, and tales of human stupidity throughout history.

If it would shock you to learn that Benjamin Franklin didn't discover electricity, you'll appreciat...more
Paperback, 267 pages
Published May 1st 2007 by Andrews McMeel Publishing (first published 2007)
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(showing 1-30 of 2,453)
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Sean O'Hara
The title doesn't lie. This is a book of stupid, easily disproven trivia, often with an absurd Amerocentric or Eurocentric slant. Among the highlights:

* It's impossible to fight in chariots since the reins require two hands. Luckily ancient cultures were smart enough to design -- get this -- chariots with room for passengers. Gregory claims Hollywood invented this "myth" -- apparently in his world, Homer was a script writer, considering the numerous examples of chariot battles in the Iliad.

* Liz...more
Benjamin Sobieck
How much does a typo matter to you?

If it's in fiction - and the writing is otherwise top notch - my response is, "Who cares?"

But what if it's non-fiction? Does it change how you view the information?

That was the boondoggle "Stupid History," by Leeland Gregory, presented. I downloaded it to my Nook as part of a Free Friday promotion from Barnes & Noble.

I don't want to be a jerk and say something like, "I'm glad it was free." But I definitely don't want to pay for editing this bad. For all I k...more
Jon
2.5 stars

I didn't laugh and I barely smiled. Most of the trivial historic oddities I already knew. A handful were uncommon but in poor taste (I put it down to 'guy humor' and moved on). Very light quick read, perfect for wasting time on a muggy summer evening.

Ebook Formatting Critique: I downloaded this book as one of Barnes & Noble's Free Friday offerings for the Nook Color in June 2011. I thought a book published just four years ago, in the 21st century, would have been transferred to ele...more
Nate
Pretty entertaining, and I'm a sucker for tales of historical misconceptions, but there are a few glaring problems with this book.

First, a couple of tales that he presents as "fact" are misleading. For example, an early tale in the book states that Lizzie Borden, famous axe murderer, was actually unanimously found innocent by the jury, implying that the famous rhyme about her is just a historical misconception. However, there is a big difference between a "not guilty" verdict and actual innocenc...more
George
AMUSING TO SILLY.

‘Stupid History: Tales of Stupidity, Strangeness, and Mythconceptions Throughout the Ages,’ by Leland Gregory was a “Free Fridays” free NOOKbook from B&N.com, and worth every penny I paid for it. It is a collection of ‘historical’ trivia tidbits—more than a hundred of them—ideally sized and suited for reading on the ‘john’. [Although, I do admit to some trepidation in submitting my eReader to such a humid environment.]

It’s hard to complain about the ‘quality’ of a ‘free’ boo...more
Anna Ligtenberg
ISBN 0740760548 - I love history. I love books that correct long-standing beliefs that are not true. That should put this book right up my alley. I'm inordinately sad that this book stinks.

Short paragraphs refute popular historical myths, share amusing anecdotes and trivia and are riddled with puns. There are one- and two-sentence notes, as well, generally a sort of page-filler.

History books like these are usually about things that happened in… you know, history. Technically, yes: yesterday is h...more
Michelle (In Libris Veritas)
The title is a fair warning to all, this is in fact stupid. I'll accept that this is a bias opinion because I knew most of these "tales" already but it has it's problems. Some of the entries in this book aren't even tales, they are just random facts that have nothing to do with history. Another weak point is the fact that their are no sources listed anywhere in this book, I understand that people can have a plethora of information on their own but it would have helped the creditability of this a...more
Dusty Craine
I liked this book. I'm a big fan of stupid random trivia. Some of the facts in this book are things I had read before but it was a very interesting, quick compilation of those strange facts.

I'm reviewing the ebook version here too, and I have to say that this edition of the book is horribly converted. There are typos all over the place, bad OCR recognition in other places and at one place or another the conversion is so bad that I couldn't even figure out what was trying to be said.

It was defini...more
Stephanie
Yes, I did read the whole thing. I found it rather, well, stupid.

The tidbits of history were ok, I learned a couple of neat things.

However, the humor the author attempted was over done and rather lame. Top that with the HORRIBLE editing of the book, and you have a rather lame read.

Someone should have taught his editor that when you mean 2 things, you spell it as 'two' not as too. Also, a 'v' should not be replaced with 'u'. So many errors, it was hard to read.

I don't know if these errors are a p...more
Shannon Renee
This was a free ebook for my nook. It really lived up to the name stupid. It was just filled with non-sense information. Some were funny, some made you think, and some made you want to roll your eyes and slap the author. This will not be a re-read but is ok if you're bored out of your mind.
SheLove2Read
This is basically a book of little known historical facts and anecdotes. While some of the entries are interesting and even enlightening, the majority of the book is written in a "humorous" way that detracts from the enjoyment of the book, for me at least.
Jen
I really like learning lesser known tidbits of information. This book sparked many great conversations.

Unfortunately, some of the facts in this book are incorrect.
Lanvin_T.
Although there were some few typos on it I couldn't put it down, I loved it to bits, set all night reading it to the end.
Monique
so far i'm not impressed - incomplete research, pointless opinions and don't get me started on the typo's.
Stephanie
Lots of stupid history told in a snarky and unlikeable tone. No thank you....
Martha
Okay, I didn't read the entire book. It was pretty stupid.
Robin
One of the things I don't like about this series of books is that the author often doesn't elaborate on certain topics and leaves the reader hanging. Too many times I'm left wondering with more questions than answers.

For example, the book tells us that Chinese Checkers was not invented in China yet fails to answer the logical questions of "then where did it originate from?" (the answer is Germany, btw) and "why was it named Chinese Checkers?" (an American company thought it sounded good). There...more
Stefani
This author knows how to use google very well! Some of the tidbits in this book were interesting, but nothing that a simple Internet search could not have found and many that were already known to me at least. But I have to wonder if the editor for this just fell asleep because I have never seen a more poorly edited or formatted book in my life! Maybe the editor couldn't see through the blood spurting from her eyes at the horrid spelling. I looked through just two pages and found 31 spelling err...more
Thomas Holbrook
There are books that demand to be read: those who’s reading bring enlightenment and new direction to life, others are read from a seeming directive of the collective unconsciousness, and those that seem to lift the mundane of life to the sublime of living. Then there are books that are read because they are fun and remind the reader that some things are too important to be taken seriously. This volume is of the latter group.
History is as exciting as the ability of the historian to relate the e...more
Jamie
I enjoyed this book and I found it very interesting. I read a review about it though that said, how much do you care about grammatical errors and typos? I don't usually care too much about them, although I do notice them more and more.... but, this book corrects things that could've been as simple as a typo, or a missing hyphen, or something like that. So with this book, although I found it interesting, it lost some of it's credibility with me as being true because of the errors.

Still very enter...more
Abby
Mar 18, 2010 Abby rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: humor
If you don't expect a scholarly work, this book is entertaining, if not informative. Any history major knows that history is written by one side or another and is rarely 100% the truth or accurate. If readers expected this book to be 100% accurate or without bias they weren't paying attention to the big picture. (And makes reading this book all the more ironic.)

This book is a good jolt for the debunking of popular opinion/thought. It provides plenty of examples of popular misconceptions and how...more
Diana
Overall I enjoyed the stories, and felt like I learned a few new things from it, mainly where certain phrases come from. The primary problems I had with it were that there wasn't any scholarship to prove that the author's version was correct and the cheesy humor that he tried to throw in after EVERY story. While I get that this isn't a scholarly thesis or whatnot, there were a few times that I found his more "accurate" versions of history to be a little less accurate. For the most part he was co...more
Mike
An interesting little book that gives you the "underside" of history. So many of the things we've been told in life are, in reality, either gross exaggerations or outright lies!

This book's title is a rather accurate one, for it's filled with tales that illustrate human stupidity and how weird we can be at times.

And the misconceptions we are led to believe truth? Wow! We are so off-base so often it's truly unbelievable!
Holly
Hey, this is the 2nd book I've finished today! Yay me! I've been so far behind recently it's good to feel this accomplishment.

Anyway, my mom thought I'd like this, since I'm a history buff and I have this weird fascination with random facts and "mythconceptions" as the title calls it. This was pretty much perfect for that. The facts were short and sweet, going right to the point and showing the irony of it or telling you the truth. The only thing I had a problem with were the terrible jokes that...more
Kamas Kirian
If you've got time on your hands with nothing else to do, give it a shot. Otherwise, I'd pick something else.

It was kinda fun learning some new trivia, but most of it I've already seen presented elsewhere, in more depth. Also, the formatting of the eBook version was a little annoying. Some of the "chapters"? had really large font, with a quote that wasn't as large but still pretty big. This caused my nook to put the "chapter title" and quote on one page and then the text on the following page,...more
Mumbo Gumbo
Not a bad book for those who enjoy various quirks of history. The greatest shortcoming of the book is that almost nothing is referenced. So, we are left to assume that Gregory is a master historian without benefit of any explanation as to how he arrives as his conclusions concerning the many mistakes in history that he catalogs.

One example can be debated. He claims it is a myth perpetuated by artists that angels have wings and that the Bible never attributes wings to angels. While he might be ri...more
Melanti
I find it curious that a book which focuses so much on how inaccurate stories can be, over time, perceived as the truth completely fails to add references or cite its sources.

There were several times that I read something he stated (Lizzy Bordon, Separation of Church and State, etc) that I knew more of the story than he told, and what I knew and how he presented it just didn't coincide. He was accurate in what he said, but it felt like at times he misrepresented the events in order to make a bet...more
Kerry Nietz
"Stupid History" is a fun little book. One of those you can set down and come back to at any old time. Every fact is interesting and sure to make you feel like the smartest person in the room later. Was Napoleon really short? Was Lincoln’s voice really deep? Why is Hollywood actually in California? (I guarantee, the reason isn’t what you think.) All of those questions are answered in this book. And many more!

As other reviewers have noted, there are some typos here, but it didn’t detract from the...more
Adam
This collection of anecdotes and trivia makes for a great bathroom book. Each entry is brief and you can easily flip anywhere in the book for a brief bit of entertainment. Not all of the bits of trivia are interesting, but some I was genuinely surprised at.

I acquired this book through Barns & Noble's Free Friday selection. As other reviewers have mentioned, it appears that the process of converting the book to electronic form mangled some of the entries. There are obvious mistakes throughou...more
Holly
If it would shock you to learn that Benjamin Franklin didn't discover electricity, you'll appreciate this take on hundreds of historical legends and debacles. Historians and humorists alike may be surprised to learn that: Samuel Prescott made the famous horseback ride into Concord, not Paul Revere. As a member of Parliament, Isaac Newton spoke only once. He asked for an open window. On April 24, 1898, Spain declared war on the U.S., thus starting the Spanish-American War. The U.S. declared war t...more
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