It's easy to see the faults in people, I know; and it's harder to see the good. Especially when the good isn't there.Beginning with Egypt and meandering through most of the rest of world history, this book contains a number of hilarious mini-biographies of quirky well-known figures including Hatshepsut, Lucrezia Borgia, Peter the Great, and Christopher Columbus.
Thutmose II died in 1501 b.c, leaving Hatshepsut face to face with Thutmose III, his nine-year-old son by one of his concubines. Modern research shows that the shoulders, hips, pelvis, and breastbone of Thutmose II had been broken. His nose was deformed, too, as if somebody had let a flatiron slip, and there were symptoms of rat poison. Egyptologists have no idea who did all this.The humour is so dry as to be nearly undetectable. At its best, the book is simply a retelling of actual history, with one eyebrow raised, like this:
During his fifteen years in Italy, Hannibal never had enough elephants to suit him. Most of the original group succumbed to the climate, and he was always begging Carthage for more, but the people at home were stingy. They would ask if he thought they were made of elephants and what had he done with the elephants they sent before. Sometimes, when he hadn't an elephant to his name, he would manage to wangle a few from somewhere, a feat which strikes me as his greatest claim to our attention.
|Illustrated by William Stieg, no less.|
Like other parody histories, The Decline and Fall of Practically Everybody is best enjoyed by those who already know something about history. For these, Cuppy's book will be an excellent refresher course, and a good laugh.
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