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Remember the Alamo: Everything You've Ever Wanted to Know about American History with All the Boring Bits Taken Out Hardcover – 24 Nov 2009

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Amazon.com: 3 reviews
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
A brilliant idear - - or should that be "idea" ? Oh, my! 25 Nov. 2009
By Theodore A. Rushton - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
This book is a great idea for people with an interest in history but without the time to wade through hundreds of pages of the usual dull, dry, boring and factual texts -- it's lively, well-chosen and well sprinkled with factual errors.

Quoting from a review copy, "Polk campaigned under the slogan 'Fifty-four forty or fight,' a reference to the line of latitude at Oregon's northern boundary . . ." This ignores the fact that Oregon's northern boundary is the Columbia River, about 46 degrees of latitude. Have Rattle and Vale never heard the "world's longest undefended border" separates Canada from the U.S. at 49 degrees? Like today's politicians, Polk talked big but succeeded modestly.

The book cites "over 20,000 British casualties" in the 1815 Battle of New Orleans; the actual count was about 2,000 casualties, with about 1,200 wounded and 280 dead of the total force of 10,000.

"In 1873, Mark Twain co-authored a satirtical novel that was to launch his literary career and lend its title to the era. 'The Gilded Age: A Tale of Today' was a witty attack . . ." This ignores Twain's first book 'Innocents Abroad' in 1869, followed by 'Roughing It' in 1872. These established him as an author and humourist in addition to being a journalist.

In their account of Francis Scott Key, Battle and Bale (is that an Ooopsie?) state Key was allowed to return to his sailboat; most accounts say Key was not allowed to leave the British warship HMS Tonnant. Key's poem was first designated as the national anthem by Woodrow Wilson; Herbert Hoover signed the Congressional resolution which formally approved it.

Likewise, "They tested the world's first atomic bomb at Los Alamos on July 16." Wrong again. Los Alamos, 25 miles northwest of Santa Fe in northern New Mexico, is where the atomic bombs were conceived and built. The 'Trinity Site' in White Sands, where the first one was tested, is about 150 miles south of Los Alamos.

Such errors reflect a lack of fact checking and good proof-reading. They leave a reader wondering what else is left out, muddled, befuddled or fuddle-duddled. Saying they are minor errors is like saying "Don't worry, she's only a little bit pregnant."

Perhaps Waffle and Kale followed the observation of Carl Gustav Jung, "Knowledge rests not upon truth alone, but upon error also." If so, and I do make errors myself, it is an interesting mix of fact and fiction. Despite its errors. Due to its errors. Because of its errors. But it would be even better with fewer errors. Or is that "less errors?" Maybe, "not so many errors?" Or "more correcter?" Help!! Where's a good proofer when you need one?
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
A great introduction to American history 2 Mar. 2010
By Sally - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
This is a handsome little volume: very easy to read layout of one entry per page. Have given two as presents and they were very well received! (And the slogan was exactly that, I checked)
A must for history and trivia buffs alike 11 Jun. 2013
By Don Wilson - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
Easy to read, full of facts that range from the depressing to the elating. Then there's the quirky. Consider the 600,000 men killed in the awful conflict that was the four year Civil War. Read Abraham Lincoln's incredibly moving Gettysburg Address. Wonder about the Star Spangled Banner being set to the tune of an old English drinking song. It's all here in this little book. Buy it and amaze your friends with your impressive knowledge that extends beyond Columbus and JFK.
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