About 60,000 years ago, the first Homo sapiens were just beginning their move across the grasslands and up the ladder of civilization. Everything since then, as they say, is history. Just in case you were sleeping in class that day, the geniuses at mental_floss magazine have put together a hilarious (and historically accurate) primer on everything you need to know-and that means the good stuff.
Twelve core chapters of world history tackle everything from civilization's baby steps in the Fertile Crescent to the Not-Really-That-Dark-Unless-You-Lived-in-Europe Ages to A World United by Terror and TV. From the Golden Haemorhoids of the Philistines (punishment from above) to the likely namesake of the cartoon elephant Babar (a Mongol prince) to the most pressing language translation issues facing the menus of today ("carp" vs. "crap"), all of history's most interesting bits have finally been handpicked and roasted to perfection.
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by Will Hobbs
by Judith Viorst
by Scott O'Dell
by Matt Christopher
by Katherine Paterson
by Gary Paulsen
"Who says history has to be a dull collection of names and dates? Certainly not the guys behind THE MENTAL FLOSS HISTORY OF THE WORLD, who prove that history can be pretty darned entertaining when you include the saucy stuff often redacted from textbooks. Johnny Heller is owed a big share of the credit for making the sweep of history less intimidating with his occasional tongue-in-cheek delivery. But don't take that to mean that this information isn't accurate--it is. Heller and the boys from MENTAL FLOSS just know that it's easier to listen to history when it's presented as fun instead of a chore. Of course, there's so much presented that it's hard to retain all the facts and dates, but that's what books (and studying) are for. M.S. (c) AudioFile 2009, Portland, Maine"