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An Embarrassment of Riches

3.24  ·  Rating Details ·  98 Ratings  ·  12 Reviews
A picaresque novel of the American West in 1803. An historical comedy about two bumbling botanists sent into the southern wilderness by Thomas Jefferson to look for something that isn't there. A novel in the spirit of Lewis and Clark (who make cameo appearences). Replete with wild Indians, river pirates, the kidnapped son of King Louis XVI, the lost colony of Roanoke, and ...more
Paperback, 384 pages
Published May 1st 1988 by Tor Books (first published May 1985)
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This book was ridiculous. It's historical fiction that is meant to come off farce-like and it succeeds with flying colors. It was outlandish and unlikely but it had me chuckling and rolling my eyes throughout.
L.T. Fawkes
Aug 22, 2012 L.T. Fawkes rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
James Howard Kunstler $1.99 **** In 1803, Thomas Jefferson, miffed by a French zoologist's claim that the fauna of NA is inferior in every way to that of the rest of the world, summons a Boston botanist and his nephew to Washington, shows them a giant claw, and commissions them to travel through the southwestern wilds toward New Orleans in search of the "giant sloth."

Their adventures in this fast-paced, funny page turner are fun on many levels. Great change of pace from the usual blah blah blah
Connie Lindstrom
Jan 14, 2013 Connie Lindstrom rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I'm not really sure what the appeal of this book is. There are those who appear to believe it's historically accurate, or at least historically accurate fiction. It's not; it's intended to be satire. And it's just derivative and not funny, which makes it pretty unsuccessful as satire. I guess it was worth a read to confirm that Kunstler is the inveterate crank he seems to be in his nonfiction writings, but I actually have no clue why my library would have this in its collection. Maybe it was fre ...more
Embarrassing Solutions
What an adventure reading this book! Great writing style and character development. It was a long read though, but has some interesting sections.
Its kind of a swashbuckler book and though sometimes entertaining the story was a little long and arduous.

I'll be looking for other works of James Howard Kunstler in the future.

John M
Jan 22, 2014 John M rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Took awhile to get into it... A few redeeming moments/characters. Some gratuitous (often needlessly) violence without being all that realistic about what the actual conditions of the early American wilderness was like.

All in all a quick read, but I have a feeling I won't remember much of anything about the book in two months.
Aug 28, 2012 rob rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very droll account of an uncle/nephew pair getting into trouble up and down the mississippi in the 1800s. It took me a while to get into this but there were a couple of pretty funny (if a bit cliche) moments.
Mar 25, 2013 Steph rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Just not my type of book. Also I'm not sure I got the point of it, which based on others' comments, I don't think I'm alone.
Sep 04, 2012 Leandra rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

This was, by far, one of the strangest books I've ever read, but it was very entertaining and certainly unique!
Long Williams
Funny in parts and droll in others. Therefore overall, an average read.
Definitely not historically accurate.
Not my typcial type of book, but not bad. Some very gruesome parts, but interesting if you like historical fiction, adventure, and nature.
Feb 10, 2013 Samantha rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
An attempt at something akin to "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" with 1/32 the charm or creativity.
Jan 27, 2012 A.j. rated it liked it
some good moments. kind of lost me in the middle but found me quickly.
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James Howard Kunstler (born 1948) is an American author, social critic, and blogger who is perhaps best known for his book The Geography of Nowhere, a history of suburbia and urban development in the United States. He is prominently featured in the peak oil documentary, The End of Suburbia, widely circulated on the internet. In his most recent non-fiction book, The Long Emergency (2005), he argues ...more
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