Other Books

Shit my History Teacher DID NOT tell me!

Wiggins, Karl - Finished Mar 28, 2017

Run-on Sentence Summary

I was hoping for an irreverent and fun look at history, but “Shit” is so poorly written and inaccurate that I could barely slog through half of it.


I am a big fan of history, but I’m extremely sensitive to authors whose tone I find overly intellectual and pretentious. I was excited when I found this book because I thought it would be a fresh and cheeky view on a topic that is so often stuffy and boring. How disappointing. This seriously might be the worst book I’ve ever read.

“And watermelon was cultivated in Africa, which in itself explains quite a lot.”

I can’t even get offended because his attempts at wit are so clumsy that they remind me of a 12 year old trying to be provocative but barely understanding what he’s talking about. The writing is terrible, but it is also unforgivably inaccurate. The content is so consistently oversimplified and wrong that I found I could reliably gauge what topics I was basically acquainted with by how frequently the book made me raise my eyebrows at them. For instance, on one of the first pages,

“By 38,000 BC Homo Sapiens had emerged. They weren’t as physically powerful as Neanderthal but had a much larger brain capacity.”

Well, no, Neanderthals actually had significantly larger brains than modern humans. Maybe this is a petty nitpick, but just a few pages later, after this turd,

"What about the old Hindus? What’s the crack with them?”

He immediately starts discussing Buddha and the eightfold path. It is as if he doesn’t realize that Hinduism and Buddhism are separate religions!

Final Thoughts

I am struggling to understand who the target audience of the book is. The title seems geared at teenagers, but I’d hope that even at that age people could understand when they are being patronized. I wish that I DID NOT read this book!

Favorite Quote

The earth is 70% water, our bodies are 70% water, and so what should our diet be? Water-content foods such as fruit and vegetables. The trouble here is that I don’t do vegetables, well not in large amounts anyway.