Download The Pessimist's Guide to History: An Irresistible Compendium by Doris Flexner, Stuart Berg Flexner PDF

By Doris Flexner, Stuart Berg Flexner

The vintage irreverent examine the past—now up to date with much more appalling evidence!

Fourteen billion or so years in the past, the massive Bang exploded—and it's been downhill from there. for each brilliant discovery all through background, there were hundreds and hundreds of devastating epidemics; for each benevolent despot, 1000 like Vlad the Impaler; for each cup half-full, a bigger cup half-empty. This enchanting, enlightening, and devilishly exciting chronicle of failures and dastardly deeds brings to mild the darkest occasions in background and the main abysmal calamities to strike the planet . . . to date.

88 BC: Mithridates VI Eupator offers an early instance of genocide by means of massacring 100,000 Romans.

1347: Saint Vitus' Dance Epidemic shimmies throughout Europe like a dangerous disco fever, leaving its sufferers twitching, uncontrollably jumping, and foaming on the mouth.

1888: Jack the Ripper stalks in the course of the darkish alleys of Whitechapel, England, turning the world's oldest occupation into the world's most deadly one.

1939: A Swiss chemist wins a Nobel Prize for constructing DDT—and the surroundings will get one other nail within the coffin.

2005: storm Katrina devastates the Gulf Coast. In a vintage double whammy, the govt. reaction additionally devastates the Gulf Coast.

and lots more and plenty, even more!

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Additional resources for The Pessimist's Guide to History: An Irresistible Compendium of Catastrophes, Barbarities, Massacres, and Mayhem - from 14 Billion Years Ago to 2007

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In one case, Titus crucified five hundred prisoners and sent still others back into the city after cutting off their hands. But the Jews continued to resist. Then famine overtook the besieged city. Starving, people ate grass, bits of leather, anything. Gangs roamed the streets, breaking into homes in search of food or eating horrid refuse from the streets. ” In one horrible case, a woman killed her own baby to eat its body. Unburied corpses littered the streets. Still, the Jews would not surrender their city.

His armies sacked and pillaged their way across Asia, creating an empire that stretched from the Pacific to the Black Sea. The Mongols were little disturbed by the wholesale slaughter they used to gain their objectives. 6 million people. When Genghis conquered Bokhara in 1218, 160,000 of Shah Mohammad’s troops were killed. “I will carry slaughter and cause devastation to my enemy . . so my name will live,” Genghis once said. His very existence terrified his subjects and no doubt discouraged attempts at rebellion.

When the plague finally abated in 1351, an estimated twenty-five million people had died in Europe. About one third of the world’s population had succumbed. No one was spared, not royalty or nobles, church officials or whole friaries, artisans or patrons of the arts, or Petrarch’s Laura. It was the most devastating disaster ever visited on the Western world, and consequently changed European society for the better and for worse. 1347: Saint Vitus’ Dance Epidemic. In the fourteenth cen- tury a bizarre disease appeared in Europe, in which people would begin a twitching, ungainly dance that soon led to uncontrollable leaping, furious screaming, and foaming at the mouth.

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