Book Review: Dumb History

While the old expression about truth being stranger then fiction is often true, it doesn’t tell us is how funny truth can be and that’s where Green’s latest book comes in handy. Consider Coco-Cola’s 1982 introduction to the Chinese markets when shopkeepers transliterated the name to something that means, “female horse stuffed in wax.” Bet that product was a hot seller! What about during the eleventh century when forks were first discovered? Their use was discouraged by the clergy who argued that only fingers be used to eat God’s bounty…at least that cuts down on dishwashing! When the Parker pen company translator got to the phrase “won’t leak in your pocket and embarrass you”, it came out “won’t leak in your pocket and make you pregnant.” Yeah, now that’s every girl’s worst nightmare isn’t it? While these are funny and admittedly stupid mistakes, several listed in this collection are of a more serious nature. This point is illustrated by the fateful December 6, 1941 decision by a Naval Intelligence officer to wait until Monday to forward the decoded message regarding the pending Japanese attack on Honolulu. This entertaining collection could be likened to the history’s Darwin Awards. Quick to read and laugh-out-loud funny, history buffs, trivia addicts and the curious alike will find plenty to enjoy in this bright offering. Note the date on this article may be incorrect due to importing it from our old system.