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The Smart Aleck's Guide to American History

by Adam Selzer


First, I can't imagine not loving a book whose title combines "smart aleck" and "American history." I love the idea of not being overly reverent about history and remembering that history is the story of real people making real choices—some good, some pretty stupid. Not only does Selzer help us sort out who's who and what's when in American history, he will also make you laugh. I promise. He'll also debunk a load of "fascinating facts" that turn out not to be true, so beware, you may have to give up some of your favorite historical myths. One of my favorite things about the book is that it doesn't stop at World War II (where all my school history classes stopped) but continues examining events right up through the early days of Barak Obama's presidency. And for those teens assigned a history project based on Billy Joel's "We Didn't Start the Fire"—Selzer's got some great help for you in here. Interesting, funny, and thought-provoking, this was the most delightful history lesson I've had!

The Book

Delacorte Press / Random House
December 2009
0385736509 / 978-0385736503
Young Adult Nonfiction
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The Reviewer

Jan Fields
Reviewed 2009
NOTE: Reviewer Jan Fields is the editor of Kid Magazine Writers emagazine and has written dozens of stories and articles for the children's magazine market.
© 2009