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Now here is a book by Erik Sass, Will Pearson and Mangesh Hattikudur, designed for the Christmas of everyone who reads this blog.  And the writer too.  Hint hint.

 It’s a gleeful romp through the extraordinary true history of everything you thought you knew about American history, and actually don’t.

Mental Floss a History of  US History : 13 Myth-busting facts that will make you re-think everything you know is funny, side-splitting stuff and covers a vast swathe of the history and culture of American life.

Baseball, for starters, is not as Americans always claim, some distinct sport which originated solely in the States.  It is, as the British have always said, just Rounders with silly suits and a big stadium. 

The Alamo was never a final doomed stand for democracy against a vile foreign tyranny, but all about holding out for the right to enslave black people.

There will be complaints.  Undoubtedly sharply worded emails are being compiled even as I write.

Herbert Hoover was not as dumb as a mud fence, and his polices were not overturned by a far sighted and wise Roosevelt.  FDR just carried on with the same ones, blundering about until he and America were saved by the war.

Speaking of War, the book goes on to make the excellent point that America did not win the Second World War aided by plucky little Britain.  The War, as most Europeans already know, was actually won by the Russians.  Militarily it was all but over before D-Day, and the Normandy theatre was a side show compared to what happened in the east. 

The Puritans were never in America to escape persecution, they were there to make a religious point and were as intolerant of others as the Taliban. 

The Confederacy was never as unified as it kidded on.  With this last point I hope that my correspondent, J J Johnson of Fayetteville, Arkansas, will be taking encouragement from this to complete his magisterial work on the Unionists of northern Arkansas.

Vietnam was not supported by the old and protested by the young.

Columbas spent four voyages cruising round the Caribbean, being the only person in the world still to think he was near Japan.

Wonderful stuff, just perfect for a good going family row on Boxing Day.  I thoroughly recommend it.

Copyright David Macadam 2010

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