by B.J. on 6/05/2005 06:27:00 PM 0 comments Print this post

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The Book of Tell Me Why

This is a book that lays in my bathroom ready to be read when you're doing the number 2.

What is it ?

It is a collection of random histories and rough details of how things work like the history of a pencil or why moths eat wool. . .for kids ! They give a rough description in 3/4 of a page for each of those topics telling these kids the whole truth and nothing but in storybook, don't-question-my-authoritay tone.

Children's literature is always interesting because it is usually an embodiment of the "safest" or least controversial/undisputed knowledge of the time and place it is written in. This book was written in 3 volumes in 1965 by some playwright named Arkady Leokum and just republished in 2004 by Barnes. Apparently, he's good as there are many versions of his book online actually still selling. I picked up my 3-in-1 volume for $9.95 at Barnes as part of my annual Christmas rampage for books.

I don't know how good he/she is at describing those mundane things like when food canning started or what makes the stars shine (seems good though), but I do know when it comes to world history. . .

His/her language. . .

Wow. . .

Just read this:

Description of who the Aztecs were : "They had developed a way of life ALMOST" the equal of many of the European peoples.

Almost, but not quite at the level of Europeans, right ?

"The Aztecs, however, had also risen to power through military abilities, and warfare was often carried on for the purpose of capturing enemies for sacrifice to their war god. The custom of sacrificing human life was shocking to the Europeans, but this developed NATURALLY among the aztecs because they combined religion and warfare"

God and the military. I bet the drive-backwards pick-up truck red staters who lambast Islam nowadays read this book as children while not realizing their own parallels.

Description of the who the Incas were: "The people had no personal freedom: the Inca decided what clothes they wore, what food they ate, what work they did.

Description of who the Vikings were: "They were strong and sturdy, often with blue eyes and fair hair."

"The Northmen had a good system of law based on fairness and sportsmanship. It is believed that the jury system we have today can be traced back to the Ancient Northmen."

Do we mention how they made their living by raiding other people's shit ? No it was more like the "Vikings saw opportunities" (like how the whiteboys "saw opportunities" . . .to steal land from Natives) and established a great law system that we used today. My how they were so advanced that we still have those kind of people today.

The way we tell history in some of these books in print today is still pretty bad.



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