A Less Boring History of the World

Written by Dave Rear
Review by Doug Kemp

Horrible History for adults is the best way I can pithily describe this. It is a breakneck gallop through all history from the Big Bang to the present day, told in a relentlessly comic and discursive manner. Some of the jokes are excellent, others less so. There’s nothing new in all this and nothing of depth or profundity – an enjoyable divertissement for a quiet afternoon. As the author’s narrative covers more recent events it is intriguing to see how the humorous vein continues as he tries to encapsulate such horrors as the Holocaust and the destruction of the World Trade Center in the same glib style, but without seeming to be callous or indeed, malicious. He also treads very carefully in making jokes at the expense of contemporary religions, particularly Islam, no doubt conscious of the risks a writer can run these days by being perceived as hostile or insulting to that variety of medieval belief.