I groaned inwardly on first picking this up - the section on England could have been written any time in the last fifty years, relying as it does on gags about how polite we all are (Has anyone on the Onion staff BEEN here recently?). Given that the Onion's standards of quality are usually exceptional, this worried me, and looking at further entries on Europe didn't allay those fears as page after page of predictable stereotypes are revisited.
However, the sections on South America, Africa and the Middle East more than make up for this, being both darkly hilarious and brutally honest. Afghanistan is a country that was "bombed forward into the Stone Age". Iraq "had it coming". The national slogan for Jamaica is "True Rasta no develop country". You get the idea. By the end and Australia ("as seen on Animal Planet"), I was completely won over. Some of the jokes may be tired, but there are so many of them that there are way more hits than misses.
It's also worth mentioning that this is a proper, meticulous country-by-country guide to every nation on Earth (including, hilariously, San Marino) so it's the ideal gift for the geographically-challenged slacker in your life.
From the 'Bulls*t States' of Alaska ( 'needlessly unspoiled' ) through France ( 'One Nation above God' ) and Vatican City ( 'The Catholic Disneyland' ) to New Zealand ( 'The Maori Wars - originally conceived as a trilogy but ends after the 1st installment in which the Maori resist British colonial rule' ) we turn page after page of razor-sharp wit and acerbic commentary on the motley collection of natione states that constitute our Dumb World. If you loved 'Our Dumb Century' and wonder where all the major writing effort has gone from the Onion website then this book is the answer to a gap in your life. No stone is left unturned and no national custom, foible or skeleton is sacred from the Onion's historians.
Make it this one, its hilarious and insightful on every page. A perfect coffee table or toilet book, it begs to be flicked through, with facts and stats about every country in the whole entire world, its never boring and constantly refreshing, if somewhat risqué in its approach to national stereotypes, but, as long as you retain a sense of humour, its an excellent book.