With the third millennium more than one half of one percent finished, humorist/novelist Barry (The Shepherd, the Angel, and Walter the Christmas Dog, 2006, etc.) is the first kid on the block to decide it’s high time for its history.
Ah, the nostalgia! Those magnificent Enron years—or maybe they were great WorldCom years—seem like only yesterday! How could we have forgotten The Election from Hell, Kelsey Grammer, color-coded security alarms, Elián González or a man named Dan Rather? Month by month, historian Barry carefully chronicles the science, the politics and the necrology of those years so long ago. He covers the usual scourges (Iraq, hurricanes, killer spinach and lawyers), the laughs (Congress, “coalition forces” and lawyers) and the criminals (Osama, Winona Ryder and Martha Somebody). Ever the environmentalist, Barry recycles. In this case, his text is largely reclaimed from annual newspaper columns. Because it was just so rotten, the year 2001 is entirely omitted. But an added feature, sure to be of value to students everywhere, is a 30-page survey of the delightful previous millennium, Y1K. Some years are skipped to get to the good parts, and Barry is up to hoary old tricks: non sequiturs, running gags, mish-mashed metaphors. This is history willy-nilly, and, unusual for Barry, it’s entirely booger-free.
A book that’s fearless in the face of fact.