Title: Half-Baked History
Author: Chip Bagnall
Satire as a literary genre dates back thousands of years to the ancient Egyptians and Romans. It is a way to poke fun at something, usually something very serious such as politics (although how anyone can take politics seriously when it’s such a comedy of errors is something I’ll never understand) and also a way to get across an equally important message. The 37 events outlined in Chip Bagnall’s Half-Baked History also date back across the centuries, poke fun at important historical moments, and relay an equally important message– just because something is written by someone claiming to be a doctor doesn’t make it true.
Chip is a comedian and a history fanatic, so it made sense for him to combine those two loves into one very funny book. No one in history is safe from Chip’s retelling of events as they “actually” happened. Marco Polo was a blind man, Buddha was materialistic, and King Solomon had OCD. He even solves the mystery of the Kennedy assassination! First, Chip introduces the facts as we already know them, but he calls them myths. Then he tears them apart, providing a completely different, often totally off-the-wall explanation of the “true” story. The result is a fun ride through some of history’s most monumental moments and a whole new look at the major players that have changed the world. For those who aren’t history buffs (I’m kind of an ancient history fanatic myself, and anything past the plague years is barely on my radar), you’ll learn some interesting new facts before you totally unlearn them through Chip’s interpretations of events.
Half-Baked History definitely isn’t for the easily offended. Chip goes all out with the sheer ludicrousness of his alternate histories, and he does throw out the occasional swear word. He also sort of insults major figures in history, although it’s all in good fun. I think fans of shows like The Daily Show would really enjoy this book. It definitely kept me entertained! The 37 stories are short enough that you can whip out the Kindle during a wait at the doctor’s visit or while standing in line at the post office.