Bad Days in History

Bad Days in History

A Gleefully Grim Chronicle of Misfortune, Mayhem, and Misery for Every Day of the Year

Book - 2015
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"Bestselling author of A Treasury of Royal Scandals Michael Farquhar uncovers an instance of bad luck, epic misfortune, and unadulterated mayhem tied to every day of the year in this engrossing compendium of history's worst moments. From Caligula's blood-soaked end to hotelier Steve Wynn's unfortunate run-in with a priceless Picasso, Bad Days in History delves into the past to present 365 delightfully told tales of historically bad days. Michael Farquhar's cleverly written entries draw from the full sweep of history to take readers through a complete year of misery, including tales of lost fortunes (like the would-be Apple investor who pulled out in 1977 and missed out on a $30 billion-dollar windfall), romance gone wrong (like the 16th-century Shah who experimented with an early form of Viagra with empire-changing results), and truly bizarre moments (like the Great Molasses Flood of 1919). Catchy headlines draw readers into each entry and 100 photographs and illustrations illuminate particularly memorable bad days including the hopeful debut ads for the Ford Edsel, the special one-finger salute Korean POW's designated for their unwitting captors, and the campaign photo that literally tanked Michael Dukakis's presidential campaign. Bad Days in History delivers true tales of these days and many more in a fascinating volume that is perfect for history lovers, trivia buffs, and anyone who thinks they might be having a historically bad day. Trust us, it gets worse"-- Provided by publisher.
Publisher: Washington, D.C. : National Geographic, [2015]
ISBN: 9781426212680
Characteristics: 479 pages : illustrations ; 22 cm
Additional Contributors: Ghigini, Giulia 1983-- Illustrator

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Black_Cheetah_99 Aug 10, 2015

Loved it!! Shows that you can always find something to laugh at, even on the worst days.

SPL_Robyn May 06, 2015

reviewed in the Stratford Gazette, May 2015

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SPL_Robyn May 06, 2015

We’ve all had bad days. Days that start poorly (stubbing one’s toe on the foot of the bed), continue badly (coffee cream gone off), get worse (flat tire in the rain), rise to a pitch of calamity (power outage before saving tomorrow’s big presentation) and finish with one in a foetal position under a desk sucking one’s thumb and whimpering for mama. Been there, done that, every single one of us.

But while you might be having a bad day, this book proves that someone is always having a worse day than you. For instance, if you are feeling blue but reading this on May 14, just remember the folks known as Wobblies in early twentieth-century San Diego. Quite the outspoken labour extremists, they were and City council banned them from speaking publicly. However when several of their supporters turned up to hear them speak on May 14, 1912, they were literally tarred and feathered (amongst several other things) by vigilantes before being drummed out of town. Or, if you haven’t got to your Gazette before Friday, May 15th and you’ve been feeling dejected, remember poor soap actress Susan Lucci, who on this date in 1998 was an 18-time Daytime Emmys loser. (Ouch.)

So it could always be worse. Farquhar has taken bites out of history from all over the world and all eras to compile this fascinating read. Naturally it is quite long – there are 365 days in the year and several bites require a bit of explanation – but each diurnal entry is written in a highly conversational and quotable style, so is unlike any history text snoozed over in school. (In fact, had history been taught like this we might all be experts on the Renaissance and French Revolution.) For the history buffs, Farquhar mercifully includes an extensive bibliography, so if one of the tales of terrific trouble tickles the desire for more, one doesn’t have to search far for more.

Like a Farmer’s Almanac for distressful dates, Bad Days in History is a great read for history buffs and hobbyists alike, and definitely recommended for anyone who needs a little karmic boost. So go ahead and indulge in a little Schadenfreude, because we’ve all been there!

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