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Dave Barry Slept Here: A Sort of History of the United States

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If you love to laugh, if you love your country, if you are unaware that "the Sixth Amendment states that if you are accused of a crime, you have the right to a trial before a jury of people too stupid to get out of jury duty," Dave Barry Slept Here is the book for you. Every single momentous event and crucial movement is covered, including: The Birthing Contractions of a Na If you love to laugh, if you love your country, if you are unaware that "the Sixth Amendment states that if you are accused of a crime, you have the right to a trial before a jury of people too stupid to get out of jury duty," Dave Barry Slept Here is the book for you. Every single momentous event and crucial movement is covered, including: The Birthing Contractions of a Nation Kicking Some British Butt The Forging of a Large, Wasteful Bureaucracy The Civil War: A Nation Pokes Itself in the Eyeball The Fifties: Peace, Prosperity, Brain Death The Reagan-Bush Years: Napping Toward Glory And much more!


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If you love to laugh, if you love your country, if you are unaware that "the Sixth Amendment states that if you are accused of a crime, you have the right to a trial before a jury of people too stupid to get out of jury duty," Dave Barry Slept Here is the book for you. Every single momentous event and crucial movement is covered, including: The Birthing Contractions of a Na If you love to laugh, if you love your country, if you are unaware that "the Sixth Amendment states that if you are accused of a crime, you have the right to a trial before a jury of people too stupid to get out of jury duty," Dave Barry Slept Here is the book for you. Every single momentous event and crucial movement is covered, including: The Birthing Contractions of a Nation Kicking Some British Butt The Forging of a Large, Wasteful Bureaucracy The Civil War: A Nation Pokes Itself in the Eyeball The Fifties: Peace, Prosperity, Brain Death The Reagan-Bush Years: Napping Toward Glory And much more!

30 review for Dave Barry Slept Here: A Sort of History of the United States

  1. 4 out of 5

    Namera [The Literary Invertebrate]

    I do love Barry's take on history! Not his best work but still pretty funny. [Blog] - [Bookstagram] I do love Barry's take on history! Not his best work but still pretty funny. [Blog] - [Bookstagram]

  2. 4 out of 5

    Imogen

    Dude! This book BLEW MY MIND in sixth grade. I remember trying to eat dinner but not being able to put it down because I was cracking up so hard. There were jokes like: "Something something about buffalo, or bison*, among the planes... *Or, buffalo." Fuckin amazing. I only bring this up because, in an effort to make american history easier, he consolidated every date to October 8th. Which is today! (And also because I just read the Wordy Shipmates, which is another kind of funny US history book.) Dude! This book BLEW MY MIND in sixth grade. I remember trying to eat dinner but not being able to put it down because I was cracking up so hard. There were jokes like: "Something something about buffalo, or bison*, among the planes... *Or, buffalo." Fuckin amazing. I only bring this up because, in an effort to make american history easier, he consolidated every date to October 8th. Which is today! (And also because I just read the Wordy Shipmates, which is another kind of funny US history book.)

  3. 4 out of 5

    Erin

    I think I may have read this, but not entirely sure.... Even after starting, I'm not sure if I've read.... OK, STILL not sure, but I always forget how funny Dave Barry is. Here's the thing - there's a big difference between stand-up comedy and funny writing, and that's why books by funny people often fall flat. Barry is a funny writer, so he works best on the page. Should you read it? Self test: 1. Do you find this funny? "In the words of the famous folksinger Woody Guthrie: This land is your land, I think I may have read this, but not entirely sure.... Even after starting, I'm not sure if I've read.... OK, STILL not sure, but I always forget how funny Dave Barry is. Here's the thing - there's a big difference between stand-up comedy and funny writing, and that's why books by funny people often fall flat. Barry is a funny writer, so he works best on the page. Should you read it? Self test: 1. Do you find this funny? "In the words of the famous folksinger Woody Guthrie: This land is your land, This land is my land, Looks like one of us Has a forged deed to this land. If yes, find yourself a copy.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Chris

    Sometimes you just need a palate cleanser. Something to make you smile, that requires a minimum of thought for a maximum of entertainment. This is a dangerous thing to look for; it's all too easy to find oneself wading through a sea of dross, looking for funny but just finding silly, childish nonsense of a mediocre caliber. The nice thing about Dave Barry is that he is silly childish nonsense of the highest caliber. My family has been Barry fans for a long time running. When I was a kid, the new D Sometimes you just need a palate cleanser. Something to make you smile, that requires a minimum of thought for a maximum of entertainment. This is a dangerous thing to look for; it's all too easy to find oneself wading through a sea of dross, looking for funny but just finding silly, childish nonsense of a mediocre caliber. The nice thing about Dave Barry is that he is silly childish nonsense of the highest caliber. My family has been Barry fans for a long time running. When I was a kid, the new Dave Barry book was an automatic Father's Day present, and would migrate around the house as one or another of us picked it up for a few laughs. Fortunately for us, the laughs were more than a few - I remember laughing so hard I had to put the book down for a few minutes because just thinking "Hawley-Smoot Tariff" sent me into uncontrollable giggles. This book is Barry's tribute to not only American history, but to the whole concept of history books themselves. The fact that he's covering everything from the initial human migration into North America to the Bush-Quayle administration (the book was published in 1989) in only 175 pages with fairly large font is a sign of his being a true master of history. For example, he does what most public school textbooks do - he skips the boring parts. Teapot Dome? Who cares! The Federal Banking Crisis of 1837? Yawn.... We all remember high school, right? Pretty much nothing happened between the ratification of the Constitution in 1789 and the Civil War seventy-six years later. Right? He also saves time and space by skipping over those parts of history which are, to use a technical term from historiography, "bummers." World War 2, for example - nothing fun to talk about there. What Barry also does to make history easier is he standardizes the dates for us. No more do we have to remember what month and day something occurred (a feat that always kept me off the high score list in high school history class.) Now all the prospective student of history has to remember is October 8. When did the Mayflower arrive in New England? October 8. When was Kennedy assassinated? October 8. When was the very first Fourth of July? October 8. See how easy it is? Why didn't they do this when I was in school? The style of the book is like someone writing about something barely remembered, with only the most cursory amount of research done. And this was in the pre-Wikipedia days, kids, when you had to look stuff up in books. Fortunately, while Barry's history does indeed parallel our own, it is almost completely devoid of actual facts that you may be required to remember. All you really have to do is follow him along on the ride. Of course, if you actually do know something about American history, the book is even funnier. The fact that the book ends with the election of George Herbert Walker Norris Wainright Armoire Vestibule Pomegranate Bush IV and his vice-President Dan "Potatoe" Quayle does disappoint a bit, but, linear time being what it is, there's not a whole lot one can do about it. All history books, serious and silly, are obsolete the moment they hit bookstores. The good news is that Barry maintained a prolific career as a columnist until he retired back in 2004, so you can read his thoughts on the large amount of history that did not end in 1989. I will always have a warm place for Dave Barry in my heart, but I do have to confess something. When I was younger and read Dave Barry, I would laugh. A lot. Those good, hearty, soul-clearing laughs, and part of the best memories I have of Dave Barry is simply remembering laughing. I didn't laugh very much reading this again. I don't know if it's because I knew where all the jokes were, if my head just wasn't in the right place, or if my sense of humor has changed over the last twenty years. Twenty years. Good lord. Anyway, whatever the reason, I had far fewer of those laugh-out-loud moments than I used to. It's still funny, don't get me wrong. I just didn't giggle, guffaw, cackle and try to read bits to my long-suffering co-workers. Whatever it is, I kind of miss it. I think I'll have to dip into some of his other books to see if I can find it again. If you haven't read Barry, I definitely recommend checking him out. This book is a fine place to start....

  5. 4 out of 5

    Michael

    This Dave Barry book, titled "Dave Barry Slept Here" was quite funny. I very much enjoyed the booger joke on page 37. Numerous parts, including the...uhh...part about George Washington... were especially funny! I laughed aloud! Haha! At the end of the book I was left with the sense that, although I'd just been entertained for an hour and a half, that I'd basically been doing the literary equivalent of shoving peeps up my nose. Peeps the candy, not the slang word for acquaintances. Dave Barry is al This Dave Barry book, titled "Dave Barry Slept Here" was quite funny. I very much enjoyed the booger joke on page 37. Numerous parts, including the...uhh...part about George Washington... were especially funny! I laughed aloud! Haha! At the end of the book I was left with the sense that, although I'd just been entertained for an hour and a half, that I'd basically been doing the literary equivalent of shoving peeps up my nose. Peeps the candy, not the slang word for acquaintances. Dave Barry is almost as funny here as he was in Dave Barry Turns 40, which means quite a riot! Haha! You're right, I haven't read this one since I was about 15. How did you know?

  6. 5 out of 5

    Daniel Summerstay

    Despite having read this only once years ago, I remembered a surprising number of the jokes in it during AP US History. They were very helpful.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Robert

    Dave Barry says in this book that it is intended as an alternative to "the boring method," i.e. the system used to teach history in schools today. He accomplishes this by only covering the interesting (and often fictional) parts of history, skipping over the long, boring facts that fill most history textbooks. His dates are all simplified to October 8 for easy memorization, in order to "not waste brain cells on trivial details such as when events actually occurred." This edition of the book was Dave Barry says in this book that it is intended as an alternative to "the boring method," i.e. the system used to teach history in schools today. He accomplishes this by only covering the interesting (and often fictional) parts of history, skipping over the long, boring facts that fill most history textbooks. His dates are all simplified to October 8 for easy memorization, in order to "not waste brain cells on trivial details such as when events actually occurred." This edition of the book was published in 1997, so it does not contain what would no doubt be a colorful commentary on recent events, but it more than makes up for it in the chapters it does contain. This book is hilarious! I am a fan of Dave Barry's, and this book is one of his best works. It is obviously not a serious book, and, ironically, it requires a basic understanding of American history in order for the reader to get many of the jokes. And the jokes are quite funny; many of them had me laughing out loud. I would recommend this book because it is humorous and entertaining, and will provide a few hours' worth of enjoyment.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Steven

    I bought this as a gift for my history-loving father, and could not put it down. So hilarious and ridiculous and laugh-out-loud entertaining. After my dad read it, I managed to permanently "borrow" it from him. The opening pages are so funny and wonderful, I used to read them to my 12th-grade students in a British Lit. course. What a blast. From time to time, I still find myself telling people about this book--particularly the fact that every date in the book is October 13 (or whatever it is--be I bought this as a gift for my history-loving father, and could not put it down. So hilarious and ridiculous and laugh-out-loud entertaining. After my dad read it, I managed to permanently "borrow" it from him. The opening pages are so funny and wonderful, I used to read them to my 12th-grade students in a British Lit. course. What a blast. From time to time, I still find myself telling people about this book--particularly the fact that every date in the book is October 13 (or whatever it is--because dates are so hard to remember). That leads to passages such as, "About eight or nine-hundred years ago, on October 13, Vikings invaded."

  9. 4 out of 5

    Angie Boyter

    I can't remember the last time I laughed so hard at a book. This book is ridiculous and extremely clever. Even the footnotes are funny! It was just what I was looking for!

  10. 4 out of 5

    Rahul Jalan

    One of those books that..... wait a minute.. perhaps their isn't any other book like this. Not a single page went by where I didn't laugh out loud. (No seriously. People beside me in the train might have thought of me as mentally deranged.) Wish all history books were like this!

  11. 4 out of 5

    Lucy Blue

    I love Dave Barry's columns, and I think I would love this book if I read it in column-sized chunks. But the constant barrage of chapter after chapter became a little bit like riding a school bus with a kid who has just learned all the words to a camp song about poop.

  12. 5 out of 5

    BrokenTune

    Dear Dave, What happened here then? Last time we met - in Hobbs, NM, if I remember right - you made me laugh so hard, I could hardly breathe. So what's with the half-hearted attempt at an alternative history? I get that there are episodes that are left out of the US history books, but why did you need to write about the ones that were left out because they just aren't interesting. Could you not have chosen to present the ones that have an air of controversy about them? What happened to Dave, t Dear Dave, What happened here then? Last time we met - in Hobbs, NM, if I remember right - you made me laugh so hard, I could hardly breathe. So what's with the half-hearted attempt at an alternative history? I get that there are episodes that are left out of the US history books, but why did you need to write about the ones that were left out because they just aren't interesting. Could you not have chosen to present the ones that have an air of controversy about them? What happened to Dave, the journalist who once braved a backlash of criticism when he supported the illegal importation of Canadian bathroom technology? I am writing this burying my head in my hands and hoping that we have not grown apart since that fateful day you signed my copy of your Greatest Hits. Hoping that Greatest Hits would some day be followed up with a Greatest Hits, Vol. 2. Yours, BT Review first posted on BookLikes: http://brokentune.booklikes.com/post/...

  13. 5 out of 5

    Emily Johnson

    Um, I don't think that I have ever laughed so hard in my life. I read a lot of fiction, so this was out of the ordinary for me. If you aren't familiar with Dave Barry, he is a humor columnist (or whatever you call them) for newspapers around the country and he has written a lot of hilarious books. This one and his Book of Bad Songs are my favorites. You don't have to be into history to enjoy this book...in fact, it's probably better if you aren't. :) He doen't make a big point of being accurate. Um, I don't think that I have ever laughed so hard in my life. I read a lot of fiction, so this was out of the ordinary for me. If you aren't familiar with Dave Barry, he is a humor columnist (or whatever you call them) for newspapers around the country and he has written a lot of hilarious books. This one and his Book of Bad Songs are my favorites. You don't have to be into history to enjoy this book...in fact, it's probably better if you aren't. :) He doen't make a big point of being accurate. Dave Barry's sense of humor probably isn't for everyone. Here are some chapter headings, to let you know what his style is like. Barging Westward, The Civil War: A Nation Pokes Itself in the Eyeball, Sever Economic Bummerhood, The Sixties: A Nation Gets High and Has Amazing Insights - Many of Which Later On Turn Out to Seem Kind of Stupid, The Reagan-Bush Years: Napping Toward Glory. Heehee.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Megargee

    In 1989, before anyone had heard of "fake news" or "alternative facts," humorist Dave Barry was writing fake history reporting alternative events. Covering his version of American history from the earliest settlers through 1988 in 21 blessedly brief chapters, Barry's account is for amusement and entertainment only, best appreciated by those who already have a good grasp of American history. (One shudders to think what might happen if it falls into the hands of newly elected Washington officials In 1989, before anyone had heard of "fake news" or "alternative facts," humorist Dave Barry was writing fake history reporting alternative events. Covering his version of American history from the earliest settlers through 1988 in 21 blessedly brief chapters, Barry's account is for amusement and entertainment only, best appreciated by those who already have a good grasp of American history. (One shudders to think what might happen if it falls into the hands of newly elected Washington officials who might not realize that it is all meant in fun.) This book is best read in small, i.e. five or ten page, doses. Longer exposure gets tedious and even somewhat annoying. If you own the paperback version, I recommend drilling a 1/4 inch hole in the upper right corner, putting a string through it, and hanging it the rest room. (Do not try this if, like me, you checked it out of the library.)

  15. 4 out of 5

    Baltimoregal

    This book STILL makes me laugh so hard I cry after all these years. I honestly get hysterical. It's just the right mix of almost-fact, partial fiction and outright silliness that just gets to me. Dave's take on American history is one I could have used in junior high- that's for sure! With chapters like "The Civil War: A Nation Pokes Itself in the Eyeball" and "The Reagan-Bush Years: Napping Toward Glory", you can tell the tone of the book, I think. If not, here's a quote from Chapter 2, "Spain This book STILL makes me laugh so hard I cry after all these years. I honestly get hysterical. It's just the right mix of almost-fact, partial fiction and outright silliness that just gets to me. Dave's take on American history is one I could have used in junior high- that's for sure! With chapters like "The Civil War: A Nation Pokes Itself in the Eyeball" and "The Reagan-Bush Years: Napping Toward Glory", you can tell the tone of the book, I think. If not, here's a quote from Chapter 2, "Spain Gets Hot": "...it was difficult to recruit new sailors, even with the use of extensive advertising campaigns built around catchy themes such as "BE ALL THAT YOU CAN BE! Become a Hardy Mariner- 'Get Lost and Die.'"

  16. 5 out of 5

    Mars

    It's standard Barry - some of the jokes are actually quite spectacularly good, but most of them are eh. Still a worthwhile read, and short enough to end before it starts getting really annoying. For instance, here are some discussion questions from the end of Chapter 7 (and also some of the best one-liners in the book): DISCUSSION QUESTIONS 1) How come history books never have sex scenes? You know, like "James Madison, unable to restrain his passion any longer, thrust his ink-engorged pen into the s It's standard Barry - some of the jokes are actually quite spectacularly good, but most of them are eh. Still a worthwhile read, and short enough to end before it starts getting really annoying. For instance, here are some discussion questions from the end of Chapter 7 (and also some of the best one-liners in the book): DISCUSSION QUESTIONS 1) How come history books never have sex scenes? You know, like "James Madison, unable to restrain his passion any longer, thrust his ink-engorged pen into the second draft of the Federalist Papers." 2) Scientists tell us that the fastest animal on earth, with a top speed of 120 feet persecond, is a cow that has been dropped out of a helicopter. How long, travelling at top speed, will it take the cow to travel 360 feet?

  17. 4 out of 5

    Coyle

    Leslie Nielsen needs to still be alive to read this book into audio format. This book is funny, but here's the thing. You know how the Airplane! movies are hilarious? As are the Naked Gun and Hot Shots films? Have you ever tried to sit down and watch all of them straight through? It's the equivalent of snorting powdered glass while staring into the sun with a pair of binoculars. This book is the same way. Read 2-3 pages (or, rarely, even a full chapter) at a time, it's darned hilarious. But, if, Leslie Nielsen needs to still be alive to read this book into audio format. This book is funny, but here's the thing. You know how the Airplane! movies are hilarious? As are the Naked Gun and Hot Shots films? Have you ever tried to sit down and watch all of them straight through? It's the equivalent of snorting powdered glass while staring into the sun with a pair of binoculars. This book is the same way. Read 2-3 pages (or, rarely, even a full chapter) at a time, it's darned hilarious. But, if, just for example, you're stuck on the metro for an hour with nothing but this book and the screaming kid next to you, it can be a bit grueling.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Holden

    Has to be his best book ever. Hilarious. Should be required reading in school history classes. Re-read 8/4/2018- What a great read.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Dee brown

    This is a hilarious read! Dave pokes fun at both parties equally. I recommend this book to anyone who likes a good laugh!

  20. 4 out of 5

    Scott Martin

    I last read this book back in grade school, and decided after a long spell to pick it up again and see if it was still as funny as I remembered it. The verdict: Still as amusing as before. Of note, the discussions about Donald Trump, who back in the late 1980s/early 1990s was merely a real estate mogul and not the president of the United States, are quite enlightening, as Barry joked about the power that Trump didn't quite have (but now, actually kinda/sorta does). The way that the book addresse I last read this book back in grade school, and decided after a long spell to pick it up again and see if it was still as funny as I remembered it. The verdict: Still as amusing as before. Of note, the discussions about Donald Trump, who back in the late 1980s/early 1990s was merely a real estate mogul and not the president of the United States, are quite enlightening, as Barry joked about the power that Trump didn't quite have (but now, actually kinda/sorta does). The way that the book addressed history, and in particular, US history and its teaching, is still relevant today. It is a quick read, and if you are a fan of his other work (essays and other books), then this work should also be on the shelf for periodic review for amusement.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Karen

    I picked this up from a Little Free Library on a walk with my dogs this morning. Apparently I just don't share Dave Barry's humor. I usually give books at least 50 pages to grab me but I can't even make it that far into this, barely pushing myself to continue to page 30 of this short book. I'll be dropping it back at the LFL on tomorrow's walk where it will hopefully find a reader who is a better fit for this humor.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Julie

    If I would be any younger I would not have known half the names or even half the words! Another book from back when you could say what you wanted without getting spanked in the news from someone you pissed off. I don't think you could write this book now. Sad. You have to love the sense of humor and the spoofs on language and our history. I would seriously like to know what Dave Barry really thinks of Trump 35 years later...

  23. 4 out of 5

    Blair Peery

    It was Dave-Barry-hilarious! Loved it. Mocking our Founding Fathers as only he can, in the most absurd fashion possible. Many nonsequiturs that will give you mental whiplash. Laughed out loud frequently. However, I did stop reading when it got to political events of my lifetime. Then it started to sound like modern attack ads against candidates, and I've had WAY too much of that. But that's a small part of the book, and it may reflect more on me than on Barry.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Brian L Welch

    A must read for history buffs Dave Barry's signature absurdist silliness is on full display here, this time aimed at American history. In the process he not only lampoons his target subject but takes digs at education, political correctness, and pop culture. Still, after all these years, this remains one of Barry's best.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Brett Van Gaasbeek

    Dave Barry is a national treasure and this is one of his best. He takes on American history in a light-hearted and creative way. This title is worth a few laughs and makes one appreciate the American narrative with the way Barry presents our history. This book has aged pretty well and is still worth the read.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Joe

    Perhaps my favorite Barry book and with only mild and occasional censorship, I read it to my ten year old, who likes his jokes almost as much as I do. Anybody who enjoys history, humor, or both will find some things to enjoy. I do wish I had the benefit of Barry's insight on the last 30 years, as the book was written in 1989. Still, a splendid time is guaranteed for all.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Bill Eckhardt

    Only If you like Dave Barry It takes a certain attitude and sense of humor to be able to follow the antics and ridiculous metaphors of Dave Barry. For anyone who thinks this way, this book is a great distraction from the complicated realities and worries of every day life.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Lea Gallardo

    Well, I didn't really finish it. It's the first time I've ever given a book just one start. We loved DB in The Washington Post for years but this book was not up to his usual. I'm trying to be polite.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Clifford Bentsen

    Very funny! A very funny look at our country's history. It's too bad it was written before the Clinton. Bush,Obama and Trump presidencies. I can just imagine how he'd describe them, especially " The Donald's " debacle.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Dev Sodagar

    I honestly feel as if I know less American history coming out of reading this book. I had very little expectation to the style going in but this is very much Harvard lampoon in style and whilst very humorous in places can be a little repetitive.

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