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Publisher's Summary

Slept through high school history? Need a more entertaining refresher than a dusty textbook? Want to learn more about America and its interesting history?

Pick up The Great Book of American Trivia, the ultimate compendium of American trivia and little-known facts. A quick audiobook packed with information.

Here you will find out:

  • Which US president survived an assassination attempt - and didn’t even pause his speech?
  • What holiday’s origin story was actually just a tall tale to unite a country at war?
  • Where in the world can you find an American mountain range - that isn’t in America?
  • How did an earthquake lead to the Trail of Tears?
  • What first lady gossip shook up an entire presidential cabinet?

Overstuffed like the Thanksgiving turkey with answers to these questions and more facts - sometimes fun, sometimes serious, but always as true as we can confirm among America’s fables - The Great Book of American Trivia takes on the real drama behind the quaint stories we found as students in US history books. A novelty among trivia books, here you’ll learn the real stories, the mysteries, and the fascinating tidbits about American history from its first inhabitants to present day.

Whether you know nothing about America’s past or you consider yourself an expert, you’ll learn something new and find yourself entertained as you discover or relive the nation’s troubles, mistakes, triumphs, and challenges. Dig in now and start learning the interesting stories that shaped America into what it is today.

©2017 Bill O'Neill (P)2018 Bill O'Neill

What members say

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American History Express

Where does The Great Book of American Trivia: Fun Random Facts & American History rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

It is among the better books.

What did you like best about this story?

The description of the treatment of Native Americans.

Which scene was your favorite?

N/A

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

N/A

Any additional comments?

The Author knows his American History and makes it available in bite size pieces for the
Facebook and Snapchat generation.

29 of 29 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Dip a toe into American History

I write my reviews by hand before typing them up and was prepared to type up the review for this book and was amazed at how long it was.

So I’m going to spare you most of it? Why? Because you need to listen to the book!

What I loved about this book was the acknowledgement that there were human beings on the continent before Columbus. The acknowledgement that European settlers and subsequent governments have committed the equivalent of a genocide. Need proof?

There were 18 to 20 million Native Americans when Europeans arrived. In 2012, that number was down to just 5.2 million (just 1.1% of the total population). Many live in abject poverty on reservations, and as evidenced by Standing Rock, governments still believe in eroding what few lands and sacred spaces remain to them. If you only listened to this book for the cursory but accurate and empathetic discussion of Native Americans, it is time well-spent. The only thing I would have done differently was discussing more famous Native Americans throughout history. That they created popcorn is interesting, and revisiting Sacagawea and Pocahontas (and correcting certain commonly-held inaccuracies) was informative, but I wanted more biographical mentions in addition to Leonard Pelletier’s (who did, certainly, deserve mention).

If you remember this is a trivia book and not a history treatise, you’ll be fine. Howard Zinn’s ‘A People’s History of the United States’ is great, but not everyone has 34 hours or the patience for the narrative stories. O’Neil’s book gives you hundreds of trivia facts, leaving you with the ability to do further research if something catches your fancy.

There are a number of pop quizzes to keep you engaged and test your knowledge. I really liked these. O’Neil does arrange the book in historical periods such as Colonial Revolution or the period between WWI and Civil Rights (1918 to 1964). Some of this might be done to organize the information, but the chapters are logical. Be warned, the incidents in the chapter are not sequential in order.

As a Canadian who loves PBS documentaries, I was familiar with some things – Glass-Steagall, the Louisiana Purchase, Stonewall riots, Brown v Board of Education (Linda Brown just passed away recently), 1983’s Thriller, same-sex marriage… The list goes on and on. But there are also many, many things I was not familiar with. O’Reilly often uses dates and statistics to back up the trivia and make it more memorable.

My favourite statistic is that 95% of all Americans have watched Sesame Street – which is shown around the world in dozens of languages. Progressive often before its time, that children’s program is a true gift from PBS to the world.

One quick issue: John F. Kennedy was the 35th President of the United States. NOT John F. Kennedy JUNIOR. The president was not a junior. His father was Joseph and his older brother was Joe Jr. (died in WWII). John F. Kennedy JUNIOR was the son of John F. Kennedy and Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy and died tragically while piloting a plane in 1999, killing him, his wife Carolyn, and her sister Lauren Bessette.

Nitpicky on my part? Maybe. But accuracy is important. I’m working on the assumption all the other facts, dates, anecdotes and statistics are correct and I hope I’m right.

Okay, on to narration. Derek Newman was a great choice. Clear, concise, and with just the right amount of either humour or gravitas, he brings this book to life. I will definitely listen to him again.

This is a great book for what it is – trivia. A quick introduction to the US. A fascinating venture into a world superpower.

Note to self: look up the 1919 Boston Molasses Disaster and find out whatever happened to the lost colony of Roanoke.

Finally, I want to share one statistic that shocked me. Only 12 students and 1 teacher died at Columbine High School in 1999. (I use only judiciously because one death is too many). That massacre seemed to usher in the phenomenon of young white men bringing assault rifles into public places and opening fire. In Parkland, Florida, this year, 17 died. Columbine was a moment of awakening, but I hope O’Neil will have to update this book because things are finally going to change with these young students who are fighting back against politicians.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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So fun!

This book was great. Derek Newman narrates it with a dry humor at times that seemed to be exactly what the author wanted. I love history, love culture, and the book was just great. There were times I fell out laughing by the way the author chose to discuss certain topics that could be sensitive with dry humor. Or, maybe it was sarcasm. Either way it was funny and fun. Though I knew most of it, I did find out a few things I didn't know. But, I never tire of history especially when it's delivered in a fun and engaging way. It was presented in a way that was blunt and straightforward. This one is a fun one.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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The great book

I enjoyed these facts about American history.I learned a few things.It is worth the listen!Derek Newman was a fine narrator.I was given this book by the narrator,author or publisher free for an honest review.

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Good read

The Great Book of American Trivia: Fun Random Facts & American History by Bill O’Neill was a great book. This was a great guide to many different facts about American history.

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  • Kingsley
  • Henely Brook, Australia
  • 04-03-18

Scattershot but enjoyable

This is possibly my least favourite of Bill O'Neill's fact books, and I've listened to quite a few now.

While most of the others have been well structured with things grouped together and a logical flow to the whole thing this one is very scattershot. There is some interesting facts (and some uninteresting ones too) in there, but they are just thrown together any which way. It's like an ADD kid. And it's the worse for it.

Narration by Derek Newman is good. Clear and easy to follow, he is well paced. Nothing exciting in the narration but good solid, enjoyable work.

I was voluntarily provided this free review copy audiobook by the author, narrator, or publisher.

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Interesting listen

Quick and entertaining. Great trivia listen. Nicely narrated.

I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review

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They Can’t All Be Winners

Having listened to probably a half dozen of Bill O’Neill’s trivia books I think you can safely say I am a fan of his work. That streak came to an end with “The Great Book of American Trivia: Fun Random Facts & American History”.

The word “random” in the title should have been a warning. Unlike the other works of Bill O’Neill, this one really lacks focus. It hops from topic to topic like a flea on speed. O’Neill’s other books were all so well organized I’m left at a loss to try to explain what happened here. There are few mentions of the Civil War or World War I but we are treated to a few minutes about Mrs. O’Leary’s cow. And jumping from the Nuremburg Trials (not sure what Nuremburg has to do with American Trivia) to Jackie Robinson to Roswell is a great example of this lack of focus. I was literally shacking my head after that sequence.

What really clinched the poor rating for me was the lack of fact-checking and/or editing. I was unaware that we had a “President William Harding”. And referring to “President H.W. Bush” seemed to me to be just plain lazy. But the ultimate error was the multiple references to “President John F. Kennedy, Junior” while later in the book the thirty-fifth president is referred to (correctly) as “President John F Kennedy”. Trivia should be fact-based.

Derek Newman does a great of narrating but it detracts from his narration when what he’s telling us just isn’t true.

I highly recommend Bill O’Neill’s other trivia books but this one needs some editing and fact-checking.

I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

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Loved it!

I loved this trivia book. First of all he tells it like it is, not sugar coating anything and telling some truths that Americans may not like to hear. Secondly, there is a lot of well-rounded information in here. I especially liked the Native American history part. I have studied that topic and was happy to listen to that information in here. It is something I feel everyone should be aware of. And lastly ...the trivia questions made sure I was listening and taking in some new information! This is one of my favorites and I recommend it to anyone who may be interested in real American history. I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

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  • Emily
  • 04-18-18

Trivia

Any additional comments?

I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

I enjoyed this book and the condensed trivia is pretty good. There were a few errors which made me question the rest of the book, and it can get a bit confusing because it skips between years. However, I do really like the questions at the end of each chapter.

The narration was brilliant. Derek Newman had a really dry wit that came through in his narration, and I really liked it.