is not your father's history book -- strange things happen when a
stand-up comic also has a PhD in history! I've written a
humorous yet factual account of America's saga from prehistoric times
through the Civil War. Ideal for young people who want to learn and
older folks who like to remember, this book offers the perfect blend
of information and humor -- proving that history can be both
interesting and fun!
One afternoon I was strolling
with a gaggle of friendly strangers up Little Round Top hill,
listening to a venerable tour guide pontificate on the Battle of
Gettysburg. When he paused and asked if anyone had questions,
one earnest young woman raised her hand and queried, “How come they
always had the battles in national parks?” I covered my laugh
with a cough when I realized she was serious and that the group was
waiting for an answer. Our tour guide stared wide-eyed and
opened his mouth, but the only sound that escaped was a low moan.
He bent over and appeared to be suffering some gastric distress, to
which I thought he was quite entitled. I stepped forward to defuse
the awkward moment. “It was an incredible coincidence,” I
announced, “... all those battles in national parks were just a
coincidence and very convenient.” Everyone nodded and seemed
satisfied. I turned, placed my arm around our guide and nudged
him forward. In a few seconds all was back to normal.
We must ask
ourselves, how can so many Americans be so confused about History?
Why is it so difficult for so many of us to distinguish between George
Washington the president and George Washington the bridge? Why
is the name Britney Spears more readily recognized than the name
Franklin Roosevelt? Where did we go wrong?
When it came to the
study of History we took ourselves too darn seriously, that’s what
happened. Too many of our grade school teachers made us memorize
state capitals and the dates of wars and turned us all off. In
truth, History is about people, about how they used to live and why we
live the way we do today. And because people are always both
good and bad, sensible and silly, so is History.
There have been
lots of laughs in History. Sometimes we have to laugh because --
to paraphrase Abraham Lincoln -- it hurts too much to cry. This
book is a tongue-in-cheek (but true) survey of historical events that
begins to raise the boring black veil off our American heritage.
As we navigate the new millennium it is more important than ever to
understand where the heck we come from. Why not have a good time
doing it? The following pages will not explain in detail the
intricate ebb and flow of our nation’s past. But they will make
you smile and say, “hmmm.” And reading this may even make you
curious enough to delve deeper into all those battles that took place
in national parks.”
excerpts from "How
Come They Always
Had The Battles In National Parks?"