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Download The Mental Floss History of the World: An Irreverent Romp Through Civilization's Best Bits Audiobook (Unabridged)

Extended Audio Sample The Mental Floss History of the World: An Irreverent Romp Through Civilizations Best Bits (Unabridged) Audiobook, by Steve Wiegand
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (668 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Steve Wiegand Narrator: Johny Heller Publisher: Tantor Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: November 2008 ISBN:
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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. Download and start listening now!

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Listener Opinions

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Tim | 2/14/2014

    " Gaining and keeping the average reader's interest in history is a problem authors have faced for, well, probably most of history. One method is to try to liven things up with different takes or an unusual focus. That's the promise of The Mental Floss History of the World: An Irreverent Romp through Civilization's Best Bits . It's a promise not totally fulfilled.[return][return]The book approaches its subject like mental_floss magazine, trying to make gaining knowledge fun and accessible. Still, for the most part this 400+ page work is world history in a nutshell. In fact, each chapter starts with "In A Nutshell," a summary of the time period it covers[return][return]The 12 chapters use the same format throughout. The satellite's eye view of the nutshell is followed by a timeline of a dozen or so significant events. Additional detail is provided in four ensuing subsections. The first, "Spinning The Globe," takes a generally geographic approach to looking at countries, empires, peoples or events. The other three look at a variety of events, people and trends -- good, bad, silly or outrageous -- impacting subjects as wide ranging as food, weapons, religion, alcohol and sex. Each chapter concludes with statistical information relevant to the time period, such as average life expectancy, population or the length of time it took to build or the size of certain structures. Throughout, there are sidebars on various events, kingdoms or personalities as well as items of trivia. [return][return]The consistent style makes this a world history work in which one chapter is not necessarily dependent on having read a prior chapter and it is easy to find the quickest summary for a chapter's time period. Where the book falters, though, is in trying to live up to its subtitle.[return][return]Balance of review here. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mary | 2/12/2014

    " Hilarious! Informative! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mghorton | 2/12/2014

    " Excellent book. I took my time with it. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 April | 2/3/2014

    " I'm really getting into this book, but I'm thinking I prefer the History of the United States more, maybe just because it hits more close to home? ;) "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Mortimer Maffy | 1/23/2014

    " Reader's Digest version of hx. Consequently a lot gets missed or glossed over. All in all a fair job at condensing hx "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Steven | 1/20/2014

    " A good book loaded with lots of cool history. This more of a coffee table, bathroom, or waiting room type of book. Well worth your time. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Dawn | 12/12/2013

    " This look at history is alternately gross, funny, disturbing, strange, tragic, silly and always interesting. It mostly just explores the bits that are sure to spark some kind of reaction. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tish | 12/12/2013

    " Fun read that covers all the important bits of history. I really loved that I could learn a bit about some of history's bits that have never appealed to me without feeling overwhelmed by that topic's dullness. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 John | 12/10/2013

    " Loved the weird facts about all of the civilizations throughout history. Especially the failed ones... "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Mariamarta Lee | 12/10/2013

    " Very thorough and engaging 'romp', truly global study of history. Not just what was happening in Europe. Also has fun and sometimes suprising trivia bits. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 brian | 12/9/2013

    " this book too me way too long to finish. it was interesting, but the format was so formulaic that i became bored with it after a while. or maybe i just lost interest since i already knew how it ended. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sara | 12/2/2013

    " I love history, and I love Mental_floss, so this was a no-brainer. Although it took me quite a while to get through, I really enjoyed this book. It's a 400-page condensed history of the world, chock full of stuff I did not know. And now I do! Read a book! "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Erica | 11/30/2013

    " While entertaining, not very historical. Sources would have been nice. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 J. | 10/29/2013

    " As a general history book, this is pretty decent. As "an irreverent romp," it's an utter failure. Only the mildest form of humor is to be found in this volume. So: a solid book with an extremely misleading title. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Spencer | 10/4/2013

    " i already forgot almost all of this. but the gist is that we have always been extremely violent, and that in the olden days, it was the fashion that men in thailand would insert tiny silver balls in their scrotum that would tinkle as they walked. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Nick Sarfaty | 7/24/2013

    " This book is awesome!! I love history. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Maia | 7/5/2013

    " I liked the format of this book. I'm a little bit of a spaz while reading books so this was like reading several books at the same time. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Janice | 3/5/2013

    " A very fast-paced (well, it has to be, to cover 60,000 years in 400 pages) and entertaining read. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Liz | 10/18/2012

    " Funny little overview of our planet. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Erika | 12/9/2011

    " Breezy, humorous look at the history of civilization. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Elizabeth | 1/29/2011

    " "You'll laugh yourself smarter on this joyride through 60,000 years of human civilization." BTW- I totally copied this portion of a review because I could not have said it better. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Andrea Patrick | 10/8/2010

    " great vacation read for history illiterates like me. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Melanie | 11/19/2009

    " Best book I have read in a Loooong time. So interesting, even if you are a history buff you will read things you didn't know. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Daniellgibson Gibson | 8/22/2009

    " Again, I love all things mental floss! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Michelle Tey | 12/28/2008

    " Compact, informative, fun to read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jenny | 12/22/2008

    " Love the irreverent look at world history! "

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About the Author

Steve Wiegand is a veteran journalist who has been writing for the Sacramento Bee since 1989. Prior to that, Wiegand was chief political writer for the San Diego Tribune for five years and a political writer and the Sacramento bureau chief for the San Francisco Chronicle for eight years. He is the author of Sacramento Tapestry and US History for Dummies and a contributing author to Forbidden Knowledge.