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Bad Days in History: A Gleefully Grim Chronicle of Misfortune, Mayhem, and…

por Michael Farquhar

MembrosCríticasPopularidadeAvaliação médiaMenções
1613132,207 (3.69)2
"Bestselling author of A Treasury of Royal Scandals Michael Farquhar uncovers an instance of bad luck, epic misfortune, and unadulterated mayhem tied to every day of the year in this engrossing compendium of history's worst moments. From Caligula's blood-soaked end to hotelier Steve Wynn's unfortunate run-in with a priceless Picasso, Bad Days in History delves into the past to present 365 delightfully told tales of historically bad days. Michael Farquhar's cleverly written entries draw from the full sweep of history to take readers through a complete year of misery, including tales of lost fortunes (like the would-be Apple investor who pulled out in 1977 and missed out on a $30 billion-dollar windfall), romance gone wrong (like the 16th-century Shah who experimented with an early form of Viagra with empire-changing results), and truly bizarre moments (like the Great Molasses Flood of 1919). Catchy headlines draw readers into each entry and 100 photographs and illustrations illuminate particularly memorable bad days including the hopeful debut ads for the Ford Edsel, the special one-finger salute Korean POW's designated for their unwitting captors, and the campaign photo that literally tanked Michael Dukakis's presidential campaign. Bad Days in History delivers true tales of these days and many more in a fascinating volume that is perfect for history lovers, trivia buffs, and anyone who thinks they might be having a historically bad day. Trust us, it gets worse"--… (mais)
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I’m veering a little off theme for this review, in that I’ve technically been reading this for over a year and have only recently finished it—but I finished Cibola Burn in 2018 too, so I’m counting it. Don’t count my reading speed on this against it, though! Given the format, this was a “pick it up in odd moments” sort of book for me, and I allowed myself to be distracted by other books as well.

I enjoyed it! The writing’s simple and colloquial, the humour’s constant and warm except when it’s sarcastic or relying on schadenfreude, and the facts were, for the most part, unexpected and interesting. Farquhar punches up and calls out awful events and people for what they are, and inserts extra amusing factoids and context pretty often. If you want to learn things without ever going in-depth and just generally broaden your historical knowledge a bit, this is an excellent choice of read.

I do have a slight complaint, though: for all Farquhar pulls from all the continents, a lot of the stories are still Western, white, male, and most of all, American. (Not that Washington politics and sports history aren’t wild, but. Y’know.) Then again, taking the majority of stories from non-Western cultures would be … also fraught. And a smaller complaint? As a connoisseur of weird and amusing history, not every fact was entirely unexpected, though it’s nice to have dates all the same.

So yeah: good book, fun read, interesting and educational, great for picking up as the mood strikes, not quite perfect for me but definitely enjoyable, and already on a rec list.

Warnings: Pretty much all the warnings, but in a pretty non-graphic and undetailed way. If you can’t handle “today, somebody got decapitated by a thing” or “today, Hitler was Hitler,” probably best to give this a miss.

7/10 ( )
  NinjaMuse | Jul 26, 2020 |
My first impression of Bad Days in History is that of Wars lost and terrible things that happened over the history of the human race. The cover seems to have an illustration of the legend of the Trojan Horse. Now I say “legend” since our primary source is the story of The Iliad by Homer. This is despite the fact that there might be corroborating evidence of the existence of a city known as Troy. It doesn’t seem to be in the book, so that is a big plus.

The book is a collection of all the days of the year organized by month. Each day contains a reason to know that particular date. Sometimes it is as simple as a racist man becoming the governor of a state. Other times it might be the systematic destruction of the Tsar’s enemies. The book covers a lot of history, though not all of it is important. Sometimes you get little tidbits of trivia. Do you remember the giant Molasses Flood? This book does, even if you don’t. The book talks about multiple fields of inquiry, from the realm of science to the arena of sports. Some of the things it talks about are pop cultural in nature and of no real value or benefit.

So as I see it, there are two ways to read this book. You could read it cover to cover and learn all different varieties of trivia for each date, or you could search for a birthday or some other special day and find trivia for that. The book is entertaining either way. It isn’t really useful if you want some kind of special specific thing. Take the trivia on my birthday, for instance, February 6th. It covers the first historically recorded market bubble with the Tulip Bubble back in 1637. None of the days are lucky, hence the title.

If you are looking for a serious book on World History, this book isn’t for you. It talks about the times that celebrities or politicians were publicly insulted. Remember Shoe-gate with George W. Bush? I do, and I had forgotten about it until this book came around. I can’t give it a really good score, but there are some interesting tidbits of information I suppose. Thankfully the library had a copy of this book. ( )
  Floyd3345 | Jun 15, 2019 |
So you think you're having a bad day? Everyday is a bad day for someone, and according to this book, some people have had spectacularly bad days. The book is grimly funny, and full of little known facts
to keep the most trivia minded people happy. ( )
  Navarre1963 | Mar 2, 2016 |
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"Life is full of misery, loneliness, and suffering--and it's all over much too soon."
--Woody Allen
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To my friend Andy Sullivan--a good man who has proved that through courage, faith, and magnificent humor, even the worst days can be transcended.
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At first glance, the title of this collection seems so simple and direct: It's all about bad days in history.
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"Bestselling author of A Treasury of Royal Scandals Michael Farquhar uncovers an instance of bad luck, epic misfortune, and unadulterated mayhem tied to every day of the year in this engrossing compendium of history's worst moments. From Caligula's blood-soaked end to hotelier Steve Wynn's unfortunate run-in with a priceless Picasso, Bad Days in History delves into the past to present 365 delightfully told tales of historically bad days. Michael Farquhar's cleverly written entries draw from the full sweep of history to take readers through a complete year of misery, including tales of lost fortunes (like the would-be Apple investor who pulled out in 1977 and missed out on a $30 billion-dollar windfall), romance gone wrong (like the 16th-century Shah who experimented with an early form of Viagra with empire-changing results), and truly bizarre moments (like the Great Molasses Flood of 1919). Catchy headlines draw readers into each entry and 100 photographs and illustrations illuminate particularly memorable bad days including the hopeful debut ads for the Ford Edsel, the special one-finger salute Korean POW's designated for their unwitting captors, and the campaign photo that literally tanked Michael Dukakis's presidential campaign. Bad Days in History delivers true tales of these days and many more in a fascinating volume that is perfect for history lovers, trivia buffs, and anyone who thinks they might be having a historically bad day. Trust us, it gets worse"--

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