The Pessimist's Guide to History
An Irresistible Compendium of Catastrophes, Barbarities, Massacres, and Mayhem -- From 14 Billion Years Ago to 2007Book - 2008
The classic irreverent look at the past--now updated with even more appalling facts!
Fourteen billion or so years ago, the Big Bang exploded--and it's been downhill from there. For every spectacular discovery throughout history, there have been hundreds of devastating epidemics; for every benevolent despot, a thousand like Vlad the Impaler; for every cup half-full, a larger cup half-empty. This enthralling, enlightening, and devilishly entertaining chronicle of disasters and dastardly deeds brings to light the darkest events in history and the most abysmal calamities to strike the planet . . . so far.
88 BC: Mithridates VI Eupator provides an early example of genocide by massacring 100,000 Romans.
1347: Saint Vitus' Dance Epidemic shimmies across Europe like a deadly disco fever, leaving its victims twitching, uncontrollably leaping, and foaming at the mouth.
1888: Jack the Ripper stalks through the dark alleys of Whitechapel, England, turning the world's oldest profession into the world's most dangerous one.
1939: A Swiss chemist wins a Nobel Prize for developing DDT--and the environment gets another nail in the coffin.
2005: Hurricane Katrina devastates the Gulf Coast. In a classic double whammy, the government response also devastates the Gulf Coast.
And much, much more!
902 Flexner 2008