May 25, 2012 Leave a comment
I would like to preface my review by stating that I have purchased all the books I review for the public. I am in no way being paid for my reviews, but I am sharing my favorite paranormal books for your reading pleasure. The opinions expressed in these books do not always reflect my own personal opinion, but I do find these topics fascinating. Your purchases of these books do not monetarily benefit me, nor do I gain points with your readership or purchase. I am sure, however, that the authors do enjoy your patronage. Happy reading Dreamers!This disclaimer is in reference of my use of the word “paranormal.” My use of the word “paranormal” refers to anything that is not normal, be it ghosts, conspiracy theories or aliens. If the topic is not part of conventional beliefs, then it is paranormal. So please do not bombard me with comments about how something is or is not paranormal.
Stupid History: Tales of Stupidity, Strangeness, and Myth-conceptions Throughout the Ages, by Leland Gregory
In response to the last book I reviewed for A Paranormal Library, you know I love history, especially those that can make or break or ideologies that makes our country special. Stupid history, takes a humorous approach to the “myth-conceptions” that we and other countries have created about our histories. I did receive this book for free from Free Book Fridays on Nook, so there were some serious typos.
I like this book, the humorous approach Gregory takes towards our famous legends brings to light the misconceptions we have towards our favorite myths which were started by literary interpretations than actual historical fact. One great example would be that of Paul Revere.
We are told that Paul Revere rode to Concord, Massachusetts at midnight yelling “The British are coming!” Did you know that this is based off of a poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow called “The Landlord’s Tale: Paul Revere’s Ride”? That’s right, Paul Revere ‘s story is a work of literary fiction! Paul never went to Concord, a contemporary of Paul’s, Samuel Prescott, went to Concord to warn that the regulars are coming (regulars being the name of the British Troops). Paul was captured by British soldiers on route to Concord and imprisoned till the next day.[Paul Revere House.org]
“Lizzie Borden took an ax and gave her mother forty whacks, when she saw what she had done, she gave her father 41.”
In the book, Gregory describes the fact that Lizzie was accused of killing her parents in 1892 and acquitted of all charges by a trial by jury. It was never proven that she did kill her parents. [University of Missouri-Kansas City Law School – Lizzie Borden Case]
We are taught (supposedly) that the Emancipation Proclamation freed the slaves, but in my own personal classroom I did not make such claims, but in fact the Emancipation Proclamation proposed the freeing of slaves in the South (not in the North). Lincoln’s purpose for the Proclamation was to keep the union together whether the slaves were free or not. The 13th Amendment in fact freed the slaves. [Information from Senate.gov]
Lastly, I would like to sing (type) you a song:
“Yankee Doodle went to town, riding on a pony, stuck a feather in his hat and called it macaroni.”
This song brings about memories of 4th of July, American Pride Parades, and for me: Hot Dogs. But this song is as old as our country itself, but when you read the words, they really don’t make sense do they? Well, the history of this song will help you understand its significance to American and British music histories. Written in Britain, the song refers to a Yankee (An American colonist), who is a Doodle (a sorry simple person), who stuck a feather in his hat and called it Macaroni (an Italian fashion). Basically an American fool who put a feather in his hat and thought he was fashionable. Kind of interesting considering that this was the colonists rally anthem for the Revolutionary War… [Somewhat history of Yankee Doodle]
This book has little bits of trivia in between passages that describe interesting historical facts or random pop culture events that are amusing, and informative. Below are excerpts from the book:
- “People who lived centuries ago weren’t as stupid as we may believe they were. Chicken pox isn’t called that because people thought the disease was carried by chickens. It comes from the phonetic evolution of the Old English name gican [gee- can] pox or Itching Pox.” page 84.
- “They’re some of the most famous footwear in history-the ruby red slippers Dorothy wore in The Wizard of Oz. But in L. Frank Baum’s original novel The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (1900), he had her wearing silver slippers. So why did they change it in the movie? Because, when shot in Technicolor, red looked more brilliant than silver.” page 93.
- “Myth: Romans used chariots in battle. Truth: No. As one must hold on to the reins while driving a chariot, they were absolutely useless on the battlefield. Romans used chariots only in sports and as transportation. Thanks to Hollywood for this myth.” page 107.
- “During the turbulent times of the Nixon administration; House Minority Leader Gerald Ford was nominated by President Richard M. Nixon to replace Vice President Spiro Agnew who had resigned. When Nixon himself resigned during the impeachment process for his involvement in Watergate, Ford assumed his duties and became the 38th president on August 9, 1974 making Gerald Ford the only person to be vice president and president without going through the election process.” page 117.
- “We’ve all heard of London’s famous Big Ben—but what is it? Is it the clock? Is it the tower? Nope, it’s neither, Big Ben is the name for the thirteen-and-a-half-ton bell inside the clock tower. It was cast in 1858 and named in honor of Sir Benjamin Frail, who served as commissioner of works when the bell was installed.” page 126.
Again, read this book if you’re interested in all things trivia, the reason why I put this into A Paranormal Library is because Gregory brings to light information that we’ve come to know as fact and completely rip it apart due to the fact that movies and literature have destroyed our perceptions of history. While some find discrepancies in the factoids, I approached this book as an interesting and trivia based read, not a history book. In fact, I have used some of the anecdotes in class, putting them on Power-Point at the beginning of class to get the kids thinking for the day, and citing not only this book but other sources for those who wish to pick hairs. Its a very fast read, and very informative, I hope you will enjoy!