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THE SMART ALECK’S GUIDE TO AMERICAN HISTORY by Adam Selzer

THE SMART ALECK’S GUIDE TO AMERICAN HISTORY

By Adam Selzer

Age Range: 12 & up

Pub Date: Dec. 22nd, 2009
ISBN: 978-0-385-73650-3
Publisher: Delacorte

Written by “a bunch of comedians who snuck into being historians through the back door,” this irreverent guide to American history takes readers from the earliest days of settlement to the presidency of Barack Obama. Students are encouraged to be smart alecks and not listen to anything teachers or historians say about history, since they are “probably wrong about lots of stuff.” Why readers should listen to the Smart Aleck Staff instead isn’t answered, except that their volume is more fun to read than a typical textbook. The flippant tone, mock quiz and essay questions and silly categories of information—such as “Stupid Hats from History” and “The Puritans: Boring Guys with Exciting Sex Lives”—are sure to appeal to the surliest of high-school students. Numerous sidebars, reproductions of paintings, engravings and photographs and even a recipe for making mustard gas keep the text from becoming dull, and students may find that they have learned a lot of history along the way. They just won’t know if the Smart Alecks have been as wrong about lots of stuff as the teachers and historians they disparage, as they are far too cool to include anything like, say, a bibliography. (Nonfiction. 12 & up)