Ideal for young people who want to learn and older folks who like to remember, this audiobook offers a perfect blend of information and humor, proving conclusively that the subject of History can be both interesting and fun.
After downloading dozens of books from audible.com I've finally come across one that is really awful. I listened to about 30 minutes of this book and found it humorless, tasteless and offensive. After discussing the awful reality of race relations in the US, Bales wraps up his comments with something about Michael Jackson bleaching his face. audible.com ought to remove this from their catalogue, refund any of us who purchased it and let Bales know just how bad his stuff is.
10 of 11 people found this review helpful
I found this book to be myopic and politically correct to the point of warping the facts. It also omits a great deal, leaving an even more warped and "tv" version of history. It has a funny moment or two, but overall there are better sources for history.
It's a pity that it was this author overheard the comment that led to the title. In the hands of a better historian with a sense of humour it might have resulted in a great book.
7 of 8 people found this review helpful
The history's decent, although it does remind me of 8th grade history more than college history - everything is neat, has obvious causes and effects, and can be summarized rather briefly. Certainly not a bad review for those of us who haven't thought of the Revolution for a while, but no replacement for *real* history study. The author reads his own work and perceives himself as very clever, which may not be warranted. He uses "obviously" a bit too much. The end felt a little abrupt, he's "obviously" planning a sequel.
I'd place the cutoff for this one somewhere in the 8-10 yr old range; the "adult" stuff is rare and relatively tame, but it was surprising given the "family friendliness" touted in the official summary. I wouldn't play it around my five year old.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
This volume is well done but it should be recognized that the author uses both corse language and adult humor, most of which would go over the heads of younger children. Also, although he largely sticks to history and the facts, he does not miss an occaisional opportunity to interject opinion and let us know that he sees the world from what would only be described as a left wing liberal perspective. In spite of these observations, I would say that it is an enjoyable listen and reccommened it. Forewarned is forearmed.
7 of 8 people found this review helpful
This is a catchy title, but the book is a disappointment. It was written for those who don't know any history, and have little attention span.
The coverage is minimal, and the bias is definitely way to the left. I don't mind if the historians have a viewpoint, but I don't want it rammed down my throat.
Nonetheless, there is at least coverage of American history. I learned one or two bits I didn't know. If you love history, don't waste your credit on a book which will talk down to you.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
If you like your history "uptight" or "politically correct", skip this book. Otherwise, prepare for a fun trip through American history up through April 1865.
Peter Bales tackles the daunting task of making history fun and entertaining, and marvelously succeeds. Some of the jokes may go over the heads of the younger listeners, but the fun spirit is most welcome. To paraphrase Bill Cosby, you may learn something before this 6 1/2 hour audiobook is done. I did! I learned a lot of facts and events my grade school and high school history texts "forgot" to mention.
Highly Recommended!!! (And please bring on Volume 2!!!)
3 of 4 people found this review helpful
Hilariously upbeat, Peter Bales' rendition of American history tickles me so I want more. Having listened to Stephen Ambrose's "Undaunted Courage" and Wil Durant's "Greatest Minds of All Times" I needed something to keep the passion for more history aflame. Peter makes the Founders of our country truly alive today, though perhaps a bit smelly.
For those opposed to pithy humor at the expense of many, this might not be for you. For a parent of a soon to be middle-schooler, this book brings all the fun and passion for history the goes with the "Horrible Histories" series of books.
Keep them coming Peter!
By the way Peter, have someone improve your audio engineering. But for that, you would score 5 stars instead of 4.
2 of 3 people found this review helpful
What disappointed you about How Come They Always had the Battles in the National Parks??
The best thing about this book is the title and the explanation of how the title came to be - a story to make any history-lover cringe, to be sure.
In the preface, the author/narrator promises humor. If you interpret "humor" to mean cheap, sexual innuendos and comments, he scores in a big way. At first, these were tiresome, but they became endless.
One characteristic of any history teacher should be lack of bias; this author has lots of bias, and the history he teaches is strictly through this lens. Not stopping there, he stoops to name-calling contemporaries with whom he disagrees and uses "history" as a platform to push his political views. I mean honestly, what does campaigning for a national gun registry have to do with his pre-civil war Am. history?
To be fair, there is a large amount of good historical information, and the author was lively in his presentation. But that information was unfortunately wrapped in a blanket of smut and another of bias. I prefer my history more historical.
Would you ever listen to anything by Peter Bales again?
If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from How Come They Always had the Battles in the National Parks??
What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?
The music in the background was distracting and annoying, and just loud enough to make the author/reader's voice difficult to understand. As other reviewers have said, the author thinks he's clever and his narration is done in somewhat of a cutesy style, like he's trying to entertain very young listeners.
What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)
I could not make it through Chapter 1, after a Prologue with that horrible music. I can't be bothered to find out if it ever goes away.
What didn’t you like about Peter Bales’s performance?
His tone of voice that put across an attitude of forced snarkiness.
What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?
Disappointment - I wasted my money. Fortunately, I didn't waste my time.
Any additional comments?
Too bad, it's a subject I love learning more about.
Very enjoyable way to review the faded memories from high school history class.
If history were presented this way back in my school days, I wouldn't have dozed off so much!
Held my interest with facts mixed with humor and a good writing style making for easy listening.