Monday, July 19, 2010

Book Review: One-Night Stands with American History

I just finished reading One-Night Stands with American History (Revised and Updated Edition): Odd, Amusing, and Little-Known Incidents by Richard Shenkman and Kurt Reiger, and it was very easy light reading.

If you are looking for a book that you can open at any page and start reading, then put down and start again later at any other page, this book is well worth taking a look at. It describes all the weird stuff that has taken place in American History, including a lot of financial history.

For example, did you know that H.L. Hunt, father of the Hunt brothers, was able to acquire his first oil well by winning it in a card game of five-card stud? Did you know that in the 1950's, General Motors hired seven psychologists to analyze the sound of the car doors slamming on their Chevys? Did you know that a Mickey Mouse cartoon was banned in 1932? Did you know that in 1929, only 2.3% of Americans had incomes over $10,000 per year? Did you know that during the 1920's, cigarettes were advertised as being good for your health? Did you know that Hollywood became the movie capital, not because of the great weather but because of its proximity to Mexico?

Of course, the book has a lot of other interesting history especially political history, including the man who was president of the US for one day, the Vice President of the US who was a Native American Indian, etc.

So for a nice summer read, get One-Night Stands with American History.

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