mental_floss Presents Forbidden Knowledge
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Buy *mental_floss Presents Forbidden Knowledge: A Wickedly Smart Guide to History's Naughtiest Bits* online

mental_floss Presents Forbidden Knowledge: A Wickedly Smart Guide to History's Naughtiest Bits
Editors of mental_floss
320 pages
November 2005
rated 4 of 5 possible stars
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The subtitle of this book says it all: “A Wickedly Smart Guide to History’s Naughtiest Bits.” This clever and humorous guide to all things nasty and naughty is like taking a journey along the backroads and byways of good taste, where only the dirty stuff is worth visiting.

Filled with informative and highly entertaining tidbits about everything from the “Greatest Hoaxes of All Time” to “Insane Soviet Projects” to “Armies Hopped Up On Goofballs,” these real-life cases come right out of our own proud history as a species. Chapters include wild and wacky tales of revenge and vengeance, people so full of themselves they started wars to prove their worth, truly evil dictators and the women who loved them, famously jealous politicians, second-place finishers in the “Big Game of Life,” delicious animals charbroiled into extinction, and so much more it will make your head spin.

The editors of mental_floss Presents have compiled dozens of stories from the annals of history, or maybe I should say from the “anals” of history, because some of this stuff really stinks - and that is what makes it so fun. We read about people who did terrible, stupid, rotten, dumb and outright idiotic things, and about events and circumstances that prove that Darwin wasn’t right. We don’t always evolve. Sometimes, as in the cases of “Artists Who Bowed To Beer Pressure,” “Historical Bar Brawls,” and “Figures Who Claimed Someone Else’s Fame,” we de-evolve.

This book is hilarious and will most likely find a permanent spot on your coffee table or bathroom reading shelf. The stories are the kind that somehow find their way on the Internet, spread via emails all over the world with subject lines like, “Can you believe this?” And some of the stories are so timely and right on the money, they will make you cringe, like the chapter on “World Leaders Who Accomplished Absolutely Nothing.”

mental_floss Presents will have you laughing even as you scratch your head in disbelief at these stories of failure, stupidity and just plain bad behavior. By the way, there is also a mental_floss board game and a magazine.Why is it that reveling in humanity’s underbelly is so darned much fun?

Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at © Marie D. Jones, 2005

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