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The Decline and Fall of Practically Everybody [Paperback]

Will Cuppy
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
Price: 8.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

1 Jan 2011
A lighthearted guide to the deeds and misdeeds of all the great names in world history.

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The Decline and Fall of Practically Everybody + 1066 and All That + An Utterly Impartial History of Britain: (or 2000 Years Of Upper Class Idiots In Charge)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: The History Press; New Ed edition (1 Jan 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 075093204X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0750932042
  • Product Dimensions: 12.6 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 330,562 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Will Cuppy was an American humorist and literary critic, known for his satirical books about nature and historical figures. For 23 years he wrote a popular column in the New York Herald Tribune, as well as articles for the New York Times. His books included: How To Tell Your Friends from the Apes and How to Attract the Wombat. He sadly died in 1949, leaving many fans of his work behind him.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The funniest history book ever 3 July 2004
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
In this marvellous book Will Cuppy tells the life stories of some of history's most famous men and women, in his onw inimitable style. He starts with the Egyptian Pharoah Cheops, or Khufu, and goes on to discuss the female pharoah Hatshepsut, Alexander the Great, Cleopatra, Atillia the Hun, Lucrezia Borgia, William the Conqueror, and many others. His comments on the lives and habits of the people he writes about are hilarious. Discussing Henry VIII's conduct in bringing about the execution of two of his wives, he remarks "As a matter of fact, Henry merely allowed the law to take its course, but some people feel that a really thoughtful husband would have done something about it." And writing of the childhood of Peter the Great he says "his teacher permitted him to develop his own individuality, and if you have met any such children I don't have to tell you." Writing of Agrippina, mother of Nero, he says "Agrippina was a sister of Caligula. You don't get over a thing like that." Every chapter in this book is full of hilarious comments. I have lost count of the number of times I have read this book, and still find it blissfully funny every time. The illustrations by William Steig are delightful too.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The book for Historians 3 Jan 1999
By A Customer
I first read this book from my fathers library in the late 1960's. In college I learned of the secret History underground that made knowledge of this book THE required text to understanding history.
As another reviewer has written, this book could replace whole libraries of reference material. This is because Mr. Cuppy could reduce complex Ideas and Actions into a 6 word sentence. Few people can do it as well as he could.
From time to time a writer will come out with Mr. Cuppy's style. The book, "Hail to the Chiefs", about American Presidents, is one of the best (Alas, it is out of print as well!).
Find this book and enjoy your past. Then look at a dusty old tome and the latest news from Washington and have a good laugh.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What more can I say? 9 Oct 2000
By A Customer
This book is such a good read, made even better by the fact that it is so well researched and constructed. It could even (nay, should) be taught in schools. It has won me so many general knowledge quizzes that I could go on all day heaping praise on it. READ IT NOW!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Decline and Fall of Practically Everybody is THE book for those who have found history dull and dry. I first became aquanted with this book in highschool, over 20 years ago, and have often quoted it since. Will Cuppy has made the great figures of history into living people with all of their foibles and shortcomings as well as accomplishments exposed. All of the greats from ancient Egypt to Queen Victoria are skewered here. William the Conquer was "a manly little fellow, always fighting and wrangling and knocking the other children down...till his father died near Jerusalem. Then he became more independant and took to putting out peoples eyes." Henry VIII "has been much criticzied for beheading two of his wives, but he only let the law take it's course. ... He let some of them live, for those were the days of chivalary when Knighhood was in flower." The only sad note in the history of this marvolous book is that Mr. Cuppy did not see it published. As the introduction notes he died before it was assembled and his heirs used his collection of 3x5 index cards to compile the best book on Western Civilization ever written.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I used to hate history! 2 Jan 2004
My husband is a big history buff and I always hated sitting through boring television programs about everything from the Romans to WWII. But, I was inspired by the other reviews to try this book out and try to get more up-to-speed on general historical knowledge. This book focuses on some of the most interesting people from the past and it is so funny and cleverly written that it kept my attention AND I even learned something! I highly recommend it!
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars There has never been a funnier book on history 31 May 1999
By A Customer
WIll Cuppy's book has more laugh-inducing material per square inch than any other book on history, easily putting much better-known books (like those of Armour) in the shade. Mr. Cuppy is the most under-rated of all American writers in this century, because he wrote humor, and especially because so much of his humor is dry and requires a little thought on the part of the reader. (This last requirement doubtless is fatal for the sales and popularity of any book.) Will Cuppy's secret was to read ABSOLUTELY everything on a subject, known and obscure, and then write an essay of 1 to 5 pages about it. He knew how to skewer pretension, academic pedantry, and indeed all the excesses of the academic community better than any other writer. While he was at it, he also had great skill at exposing the foibles of his famous subjects. Like any humorist, he does not bat 1000, but when he hits, he is as funny as anybody else has even been.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Been done before and better. 27 Feb 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
While it is an interesting foray into the byways of history I found it just too much. "1066 and All That" had the right combination of humour and thoughtful comment this is just a stream of sarcasm.
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