Title: A Shite History of Nearly Everything.
Genre: Non-fiction, parody, humour.
Publication Date: 2005.
Summary: Eccentrically - indeed, irresponsibly - compiled, packed with bizarre ideas, hopeless theories, impossible dreams, preposterous statements, loony prophecies, mad scientists, demented technicians, useless inventions, and much of the often deranged history of our planet, the book doesn't just challenge our view of the history of the world; it challenges our very sanity!
My rating: 8/10
♥ From the Introduction:
I set out to write a book about the history of everything. After some years of savage toil, by which time my narrative had reached the end of the first millennium following the Big Bang - that is, with a little under 13.7 billion years still to go - I realized that such a project was likely to overtax even a man of my extraordinary talents. Superb as my book was going to be, it was clear that it would be beyond the intellectual capabilities, the pocket, and the physical strength of all but a handful of readers.
This book, therefore, is about the history of nearly everything, which is, frankly, still far more than any reader either could, or should, want to know. Doubtless, to the pedant, there are omissions, though very few and very insignificant. I do not hold to Santayana's idiotic view that 'Those without a sense of the past are condemned to repeat it,' and I have therefore left out anything that I either disagreed with, disliked for personal reasons, or found boring. (Besides, quite a lot of the past would bear repeating - provided one wasn't a slave, a peasant, any kind of footsoldier, sick, disabled, persecuted by the authority, and et cetera.) In short, you will not find much about Canadian politics, the rotation of crops, the Louisiana Purchase, the life and work of King George V or the development of post-war Federal housing policy within these pages.
Such a sensible approach obviously brings great benefits to the reader. Gone are the days of wading through piffling Amendments to the US Constitution, and gone too the bewilderment of wondering why Caesar kept throwing his cavalry several hundreds of paces across the river. Welcome instead to the Parody Method of History, in which what is set down is directly related to its interest or amusement value. At last the reader is liberated: if he or she does not care two hoots for the Spinning Jenny or Manifest Destiny - why then, he or she shall not have to read of them. Instead, they will be entertained by a dazzling array of knowledge, analysis and wit, in a romp through 13.7 billion years of nearly all the world's history.
Any errors or omissions pointed out by readers will be deeply resented.
♥ ... so God made Eve - out of one of Adam's ribs, actually - to keep him company, and also because God wanted to get busy populating the Earth and needed a woman for the job. Why he didn't just create more people himself is a mystery. ... However, Adam and Eve's third son Seth was on hand to continue the family name (though where his wife came from is another matter entirely), and thus began the process of begetting... or begatting.
♥ Considering where and when he lived, and that he was 600 years old, how did Noah manage to achieve the following:
Collect a polar bear from the North Pole?
Collect a penguin from the South Pole?
Get a couple of elephants up the gangplank without them treading on the ants?
Prevent the lions and tigers from killing the other animals?
Feed all those animals, if not with each other?
Collect all the excrement?
Cope with the pong?
Sleep through the noise?
Float under all that weight, even?
♥ Countdown to Extinction: Why the Dinosaurs Died Out
No one is absolutely sure what killed off these huge creatures, but here are a few ideas anyway:
* They went on a hunger strike.
* They didn't have sex education.
* Their dinners weren't nutritional enough.
* The two that Noah squeezed into the Ark didn't fancy each other.
* They got abducted by aliens.
* The plant eaters produced so much methane that they damaged the ozone layer.
* The meat eaters ate all the veggies and then started on each other.
* The females became celibate - wouldn't you after being mounted by something weighing 20 to 30 tonnes?
* All that thumping about set off volcanic eruptions that altered the Earth's climate.
* The temperature dropped and the woolly mammoths had pinched all the coats.
* A comet or asteroid paid them a little visit causing dust and debris to block out rays from the Sun and they all got Seasonal Affective Disorder.
♥ Old-Fashioned Precursors to Toilet Paper:
-moss (avoid the slimy variety) -leaves (best avoid the crunchy ones) -sheep's wool (soft, but probably not very absorbant -hay (be careful which way you hold it) -straw (ditto) -sand (how does that work?) -mussel shells (remember that the next time you eat moules marnières) -corn cobs (surely they're best eaten?) -coconut shells (make sure you eat the coconut first) -snow (brrrr - brace yourself) -hemp (why not have a smoke at the same time?) -sponges (rinse thoroughly after use) -lace (strictly confined to royalty) -the left hand (wash carefully afterwards) -newspaper (read it first) -bumf (bum fodder)
♥ The worldwide 'Spanish Flu' epidemic that broke out in 1918 killed more than 30 million people in less than a year. In the US, physicians put the blame on nakedness, fish contaminated by Germans, dirt, dust, unclean pyjamas, Chinese people, open windows, closed windows, old books, and cosmic influences. In reality the virus started in pigs.