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The Great Book of American Trivia: Fun Random Facts & American History

Trivia USA 2
Narrated by: Derek Newman
Length: 3 hrs and 48 mins
4 out of 5 stars (19 ratings)

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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.

31 of 31 people found this review helpful

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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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Disappointed

Sloppy history. Was there no fact checker? Performance wasn’t bad.

Reminds me of the Wikipedia version of history.

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American history

This edition covers a vast swath of American history, albeit mostly post-colonization. O'Neill and Newman, as always, do a good work on presenting history in an entertaining fashion. O'Neill also makes a point that sometimes the history we know isn't always the most accurate history, due in part to the survivor's ability to not only write the history, but also edit it to the survivor's favor.

As far as I can tell, everything is reported on in a fair and accurate manner. Most notably, O'Neill continues to include information discovered and recent history right up until its publication date - even as a former history major I've been hard-pressed to find any American history texts including data post-WW2, let alone anything past the 70's!

Audio: Newman is great, I enjoy his narration.

**I was provided with a promotional copy, at my request, and have voluntarily left a fair and honest review**

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Rather underwhelming

Thanks for the 4th grade history lesson. If only our forefathers would have adopted future sensibilities we could be proud to be Americans.

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Inaccuracies

I do not write a lot of reviews, but I noticed some facts were incorrect. I at first thought it was just a mistake by the narrator, but then I heard further errors in another O'Neill title.

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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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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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  • 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.