Tracey's Reviews > The World's Worst: A Guide to the Most Disgusting, Hideous, Inept, and Dangerous People, Places, and Things on Earth

The World's Worst by Mark Frauenfelder
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Sep 05, 07

Recommended for: early high school science or history classroom
Read in January, 2006

Wanted something light to read after the last few longer books, so I picked this up & read it in a few quick sessions. Each "World's Worst" topic is presented in 1-2 pages, with a 1 page title and usually another page for an illustration... not a lot of meat in this little book. I was already somewhat familiar with at least half of the topics covered (such as corpse flowers, Jocelyn Wildenstein & casu marzu), but hoped to learn a few new things along the way.

IMHO, Frauenfelder's source cites were few & far between (no bibliography or credits at the back) and he repeats the UL-ish story of a candiru fish swimming up a stream of urine to burrow into a young boy's penis, so that casts a bit of doubt in my mind as to the thoroughness of his research. On the other hand, he provides an explanation for Ms. Wildenstein's plastic surgery - she wants to resemble a jungle cat. (Okay...)
Frauenfelder also writes that the "father" of cheesy mail order products: Sea Monkeys & X-Ray Specs was (despite his Jewish heritage) a white supremacist, which is not mentioned in the Wikipedia article. I ought to check & see if Nauru was one of the Pacific islands Tony Horowitz visited in Blue Latitudes.. the name of the island & its situation sounds familiar.

It's a mildly entertaining book - a decent bathroom read, perhaps, or a springboard for further reading in a middle school/early high school science or history classroom
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