America (The Book): Teacher’s Edition, by The Daily Show with Jon Stewart staff

My Copy: 9780446691864 (Image from Amazon.com)

I hadn’t pulled this one out in so long, and wondered if I’d find it depressing or hilarious reading it now. Well, maybe it’s a bit of both. I kept going back to the acknowledgement page before it started and found it terribly apropos for our times, though it was published in 2004:

“To the huddled masses, Keep yearnin’!”

We have been “yearnin'” an awful lot lately, haven’t we?

America (The Book): Teacher’s Edition is a work of craziness by the Daily Show staff. Most people have the original edition if they have it at all, a crack textbook about America and American History as understood by the ignorant…you know, like an extended The Onion article or something.

But the Teacher’s Edition boasts red cursive writing by an unknown bearded college professor, full of corrections and such. It looks like one of my professors swigged some coffee and stayed up late making sure to call them on their bullshit and fact-checking (not on the emotional bit, but the basic facts of who did what in our history).

I read this twice: the first time straight through without the red ink reading…mostly. Then I included the red ink corrections the second time. It’s funny both ways, but some of the sarcasm and woe from the unnamed “teacher” makes it really funny in places.

Oh, heavens, and it even brings out the nostalgia for school with that textbook-checkout stamp in the front…with some wording modifications in the small print.

I found this at Barnes and Noble in the discounted humor section one day, and read it several times. I just haven’t had a chance to pick it up in a few years. Now I’m glad I did, though part of me feels a bit more depressed when I get thinking about our current situation. I just have to remember the book was published in 2004 and so much has happened since.

I think you can take the humor any old way, depending on your mood.

Still, it’ll put a grin on your face on a bad day, and make you quiz yourself on U.S. History a bit (checking your answers with that red-ink write-ins as you go).

Have fun reading. We all need something to keep us going…maybe this will help.

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