By: those guys from Mental Floss.
My mother - a middle school "gifted and talented" teacher - received a copy of The Mental Floss History of the World.
If only we could have used Mental Floss' version of world history in my high school classes! It's hilarious, mostly because the writers use their typical Mental Floss snark-i-cist writing style. No one is safe from their factually accurate ridicule.
If you want to learn about the highlights - and lowlifes - of world history, look no further. It's probably one of the most engaging historical texts I've ever encountered. Although it covers more European and Asian history than North or South American, it's understandable: the Aztecs weren't exactly great chroniclers.
In addition to the main text, there are these little reddish-pink boxes with "fun facts" in them. They include tasty morsels such as:
1) Attila the Hun died of a nosebleed on his wedding night.
2) Situations in which Greeks approved of male homosexual relationships
3) The Romans' cover story for increasingly outrageous debauchery (it was Dionysus's fault!)
Some of the discussions veer into the gross, as in a lengthy discussion of Roman banquet fare, but overall, it's an interesting read. If you want an irreverent take on world history - and really, who doesn't? - then The Mental Floss History of the World is a great place to start.
* I know. I know. It's been a while since I wrote a book review. Blame it on the Swiss Family Robinson. They took forever getting off that island. And no, that's not a spoiler.
+ No news yet on the job, either. Every time I call a family member, they assume it's because I'm about to announce impending employment rather than, say, the fact that I accidentally punctured the "dog walking" bag with my finger, thereby covering said finger in dog poo. Eww...