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

3.32  ·  Rating details ·  1,887 Ratings  ·  264 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 appreciate this take on hun
Paperback, 267 pages
Published May 1st 2007 by Andrews McMeel Publishing (first published 2007)
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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
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
Benjamin Sobieck
Jun 14, 2011 rated it liked it
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
Aug 25, 2008 rated it it was ok
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
Jun 21, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: nook-st, non-fiction

‘Stupid History: Tales of Stupidity, Strangeness, and Mythconceptions Throughout the Ages,’ by Leland Gregory was a “Free Fridays” free NOOKbook from B&, 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
Anna Ligtenberg
Jan 19, 2013 rated it it was ok
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
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
Stephanie (Reading is Better With Cupcakes)
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
Mar 10, 2016 rated it liked it
All in all, it was a fun and quick read. Some of his facts were spot on and other were left to interpretation of what actually happened. I'm glad I was able to read it, but might not be picking it up again for a while.
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.
Nov 16, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: dnf, 2010
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.
Sep 22, 2011 rated it did not like it
Lots of stupid history told in a snarky and unlikeable tone. No thank you....
Jun 20, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, ebook
so far i'm not impressed - incomplete research, pointless opinions and don't get me started on the typo's.
Sep 22, 2011 marked it as noway-josé
1* from Stephanie
Jun 11, 2011 rated it did not like it
Okay, I didn't read the entire book. It was pretty stupid.
Apr 22, 2013 rated it really liked it
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.
May 05, 2008 rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction
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.
Aug 05, 2017 rated it did not like it
I think "Stupid Lame Jokes" would be a better title of the book. 'Nuf said.

P.S. The e-book version has many typos, misspellings, and incorrect dates.
Nov 13, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Thomas Holbrook
Apr 30, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
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
Jul 30, 2012 rated it liked it
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
Jul 05, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ebook
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
Nov 19, 2010 rated it really liked it
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
Kamas Kirian
Mar 18, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, humor
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,
Danielle Reily
Aug 15, 2015 rated it it was ok
I love history, I love reading about history, I didn't love this book.
It was funny, but the humor got old, and was often borderline racist. The jokes were corny, which was cute at first, but quickly grew stale. I learned some things, but it had inaccuracies, too many to list them all. I'll just mention the first one I noticed, it was about Lizzie Borden. He wrote that she was found not guilty and about how silly that all we remember is the nursery rhyme when she didn't actually do it. It is tr
Feb 12, 2010 rated it liked it
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
Feb 05, 2012 rated it liked it
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
Nov 16, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: e-book, humor, nonfiction, 2010
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
Mumbo Gumbo
Nov 14, 2010 rated it liked it
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
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