Before Terry Deary had written `Horrible Histories', he had already created a series of true story books for children. These true stories took the given perception of something and added eccentric and interesting things to it. `Farmer Buckley's Exploding Trousers' is the adult equivalent of one of these books. A series of short articles look back on strange scientific discoveries. Why did father Buckley's trousers explode? Would you go so high up in a hot air balloon that you almost die? Science is full of great minds, but `Buckley' suggests that genius is truly close to madness.
At its best `Buckley' is an informative and very entertaining book. Some of the more macabre stories are pure entertainment, but are based on solid historic and scientific evidence. When the aim is to entertain the book works, it is when the `New Scientist' aspects of the book come out that things begin to drag. This collection was originally taken from the well-known science periodical so is aimed towards a cerebral crowd. When going into great depth on some of the subjects the book is just plain boring. I know that I am reading a book about scientific discoveries, but I don't need to know all about them.
With around a quarter of the vignettes dragging out too long, `Buckley' is not the perfect book. However, the majority of the stories are well written, interesting and very enjoyable. Any fan of nonfiction or history will get something from the book.