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Distory: A Treasury of Historical Insults

3.55 of 5 stars 3.55  ·  rating details  ·  51 ratings  ·  12 reviews
Distory: A Treasury of Historical Insults is a hilarious collection of insulting historical quotations in the vein of The Portable Curmudgeon that will have history buffs and readers of humor books in stitches. Full of lively quips, jabs, jaunts and put downs by and about notable figures, it covers all epochs of mostly Western history. Schnakenberg has collected more than ...more
Hardcover, 192 pages
Published December 15th 2004 by St. Martin's Press
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Mike (the Paladin)
The art of the insult has been around a long time and political insults are no exception. The most interesting thing for me I think here were the examples from our own (American) founders. Somehow I never pictured Jefferson, Adams or Lincoln "dissing" their opponents. This book runs the gamut from serious and deadly to hilarious.

For example:

Benjamin Disraeli on Joseph Chamberlain:
Mr. Chamberlain....looked and spoke like a cheesemonger.

Pat Buchanan on Bill Clinton:
"Bill Clinton's foreign policy
If you liked The Portable Curmudgeon, and I have to admit that I loved its snarky wit, this is the book for you. This book was a gift--memo to me, I need to cut down on the sarcastic comments--and, unfortunately I read most of it at work. This resulted in stifled snorts of laughter at the most inappropriate times. In the United States, we tend to venerate our Founding Fathers, but, in reality, they could verbally bitch slap each other with the gusto of hound puppies. And these insults don't stop ...more
Feb 08, 2013 Shane added it
"Distory" by Robert Schnakenberg is a collection of bitch slaps from historical figures to other historical figures or countries or the citizens of countries - a rather slim volume, and not as hysterical as I'd've preferred, but worth a buck if found at a used book store - or better still check it out from a library, which is what I did. One of the virtues of this is that it serves as a sort of revisionist history in which we hear zingers directed at what have become sacred cows, and sacred cows ...more
I bought this book, then read the entire thing in the parking lot. Awkward for many people who happened by, as I laughed and nodded and said "seriously!" in an empty vehicle. I would recommend this to any student of history primarily, but also for anyone who likes a good jab in the ribs. There are so many funny lines (and a few that are chilling) and some that are surprising. The quotes would be great to pull out when teaching History as insults have always been a matter of form for students. Pe ...more
Scott Golden
An interesting, quick read. A lot of the disses come down to ad-hominem personal attacks, and this causes the book to drag a bit; however, the more creative disses (predictably, some of the best are from Winston Churchill) make it worthwhile to slog through the bile.
My personal favorite dis: Abraham Lincoln, on his debate opponent Stephen A. Douglas: "His argument is as thin as the soup that was made by boiling the shadow of a pigeon that had been starved to death." Abe rocked it!
Troy Blackford
Fascinating collection taken as a whole, yet it seems (subjectively to me at least) obvious that one of two things happened:

This book would have been very short if only the really -awesome- insults were in.


The author had no sense of what represented a 'wicked historical burn' over a 'frankly, i don't like it.'

I am much more apt to believe the former. This is a small little book, but it could have been a BRILLIANT t-shirt. Not a complaint - this is exactly what the book purports to be.
Mark Woodland
A very fun read, with some surprising insults having been cast by people that will surprise you.
Pretty funny. I laughed out loud many times while reading this. Not much substance, but amusing.
May 29, 2007 Coillteach rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: People interested in history & politics
Screamingly funny, but you do have to know your history to fully appreciate it.
John Adkins
Nice collection of historical jabs. A pleasant read.
Bill Tucker
An intellectual and historical laugh riot.
It's too short...but it's a lot of fun.
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Robert Schnakenberg has been called "the Howard Zinn of nerd pop culture." He is the author of more than a dozen books, including Old Man Drinks, Christopher Walken A-to-Z, Secret Lives of Great Authors, and The Encyclopedia Shatnerica—the world's first A-to-Z guide to the life and career of William Shatner. His work has appeared in Penthouse.

"Schnakenberg is the clown prince of American letters!"
More about Robert Schnakenberg...
Secret Lives of Great Authors: What Your Teachers Never Told You about Famous Novelists, Poets, and Playwrights Secret Lives of Great Filmmakers: What Your Teachers Never Told You about the World's Greatest Directors Christopher Walken A to Z: The Man, the Movies, the Legend Secret Lives of the Supreme Court: What Your Teachers Never Told You about America's Legendary Judges Old Man Drinks: Recipes, Advice, and Barstool Wisdom

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