Another Review at MyShelf.Com

Publisher: Perennial Currents / HarperCollins
Release Date: August 17, 2004
ISBN: 0060532505
Format Reviewed: Trade Paperback
Buy it at Amazon
Read an Excerpt
Genre: Nonfiction
Reviewed: 2004
Reviewer: Patricia Aliventi
Reviewer Notes:  

You Did What?
Mad Plans and Great Historical Disasterssubtitle  
By Bill Fawcett & Brian Thomsen

     Bill Fawcett and Brian Thomsen set out to prove history can be funny and succeed in "You Did What? Mad Plans and Great Historical Disasters." Tackling every subject from the Trojan Horse to the duel between Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton, to the introduction of New Coke, they managed to bring a smile to history. Each of the subjects is explained in as much detail and background as is possible to squeeze into about five pages, giving a concise narrative of just why someone should have known better than to even try something like this.

     The book covers a huge time in history and highlights both well-known goofs as well as the more obscure. Most of us can already figure out the Watergate break-in wasn't a good idea. However, I'd never known before reading this book that thirty years before the Panama Canal was completed, someone else had tried to build the Canal and failed miserably. I was also shocked to learn that Bruce Springsteen was scheduled to be the opening act for Anne Murray one summer night in Central Park, and she never got to go on since the crowd was wild for him. The point is made that you generally should make sure your opening act will not appear on the covers of Time and Newsweek just days before your concert.

     It's a fun mixture of pop-culture and history, guaranteed to keep you interested and feeling a bit superior - after all, none of us would ever make a mistake like that.