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Publisher's Summary

Most people don't know that:
Benjamin Franklin almost killed himself trying to electrocute a turkey; the Wright brothers were not the first to fly an airplane; there was a 14th state that the original 13 wouldn't let join the Union; and that Benedict Arnold helped save the American Revolution. All this and more is revealed in That's Not in My American History Book.

For generations, history classes have reduced the rich, often surprising, facts of the American story into a dry litany of dates, names, and places. Now, That's Not in My American History Book fills in the gaps, supplying the messy details, reclaiming the overlooked heroes, and correcting the facts you thought you knew.

That's Not in My American History Book collects an illuminating treasury of stories edited out of your textbooks. It explains why the Fourth of July isn't really our Independence Day. It dispels the myth of Paul Revere's midnight ride. It reveals 19th century political mudslinging that labeled Andrew Jackson a murderer and his wife a "convicted adulteress." It even unveils the only Vice President ever to compose a #1 pop hit.

With insight, irreverence, and no small amount of wit, That's Not in My American History Book uncovers our unknown past.

©2000 Thomas Ayres; (P)2000 Blackstone Audiobooks

What members say

Average Customer Ratings


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  • Overall
  • TR
  • St. Louis
  • 05-06-07

A Great Book!

If only you could remember half of what's in this book... Depending on your personality, you could be the next Cliff Clavin or teach American history. I listen to a lot of history books and find myself going back to listen to something covered in this book. The trouble is - I end up listening to the rest of the book in it's entirely because it's so interesting. I've probably listened to this book about 10 times - I could never delete from my iPod. I wish there was a sequel.

Do yourself a favor and put it in your shopping cart!

17 of 17 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • FoxyGirl
  • Round Rock, Texas USA
  • 01-27-05

Lots of Fun!

I had lots of fun listening to this book. Trouble is I was constantly making notes on things to research further via the internet!! Things would be a lot different if history were recorded accurately . . . but you know what they say . . . the history books are written by The Winners! So, alas, history books are published with a built-in bias. This book gives a great jumping off point if you want to learn more about the subjects included.

10 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Great Historical trivia

If you make it through the introduction, there are fascinating anecdotes, which are brief, keeping the material interesting. Great "read."

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Fun escapism, but not enough items

I really enjoyed this book. The only problem is that the author kinda pads each of his stories with a lot of unnecessary details. I would have liked more stories and less filler.

One little niggle about the audio book. Whoever edited it never left enough space between the topics. So as one topic ends the other is jammed right in after it.

30 of 34 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Richard
  • Key Largo, FL USA
  • 03-18-09

Very entertaining historical nuggets

Written by a journalist, this book has a story-telling style that is very readable (listenable) and entertaining. I have a fair knowledge of American history yet most of the historical episodes were unfamiliar to me and fascinating to hear. The narration is excellent. If you enjoy history when it's easy reading and sometimes light-hearted, this is for you.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Robert
  • Bentonville, AR, United States
  • 06-23-08

Inspiration to sleep...

While I can appreciate the topic, and indeed it was this appreciation that made me wish to hear this Audiobook. The topic is meant to inspire people to wish to read history, to learn the truths that have been hidden through time. However, the reader is so dull that he borders upon a monotone dialogue that makes you want to sleep, instead of research more history. I give this a three for the over-all topic, which is a great topic, but it suffered greatly by the dull, monotonic reader that made me feel bored by history, as opposed to inspired by it.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Very interesting and worth the read

I'm not much on history, especially American history. However, this book kept my attention and if a second version ever becomes available, I'll read that too.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Joe
  • Philadelphia PA
  • 10-02-08

Great Listen!

It would be easy to say this is a book about US historical trivia but that would deprecate the accomplishments of men and women who, while mostly forgotten by history, helped shape our country in profound and positive ways.
This book was easy to listen to with my Garmin GPS when driving.
Joe Cannon

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Yessie
  • N. Miami , FL, USA
  • 06-23-08


It was an interesting read. I fell asleep in some parts but overall, there is a lot of obscure facts the history buffs will enjoy. This audio book is not for everyone.

3 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Sounds like history class

It sounds like high school history class (say, in June) when you'd stare out the window and pretend to listen to some boring teacher speak in monotones about stuff nobody really cares about - your mind distracted by the 1000 other things you'd rather be doing with your time.

I know, it *is* history but... but it is waaaayyyy too boring to subject yourself to voluntarily! The narrator even sounds bored, or computerized... a gravely voiced computer. Mr Spock (from Star Trek) on sleeping pills maybe.

As an example: the first 15 minutes is a preamble to the contents of the book that you're about to listen to - HUH?? Why preamble so much when I'm about to listen to it anyway?? Then the next 15 minutes drags on about the history of flight... THEN it goes into the mysterious short term inclusion of a 14th state... all spoken by a sleepy gravely-voiced computer.

Absolutely riveting stuff... NOT. I'm all for alternative history explorations, but sheesh, at least pick topics that people care about. Do we really care that the first airplane was invented 2 years before we thought it was??? If you do, then you'll like this book, otherwise, give it a miss.

I have no idea if the "history" presented is true or not... in fact, I found my eyes glazing over (and it's AUDIO) so often that I'm pretty sure I'd fail any test given in this history class!

7 of 13 people found this review helpful