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Book_worst_case_scenario_2 I had the chance to finish The Worst-Case Scenario Almanac while I was on vacation.  My wife and I bought this book last year when we were in Branson, MO for a quick weekend getaway.

Cathy and I loved the book.  It was going to be perfect for this white elephant gift exchange we were about to attend.  At the same time, we were disappointed.  "How would we ever get this book back?  Everyone will want it."  (P.S. No one wanted it.  In fact, it was considered the worst gift by everyone but us.  But I got it back.  Heh, heh, heh!)  🙂

The book starts off with two great quotes about history:

It was a fun book to read.  Interesting stuff.  Here are some things I did not know:

  • The Romans taught Atilla the Hun how to defeat them when he studied with them during a foreign student exchange program.
  • Gutenberg got into debt to a man named Fust, who called in the debt, stole his invention, and made millions off of it.  Gutenberg died impoverished.
  • At the height of tulip mania (before the dot.com tulip bubble burst), only 1 viceroy tulip bulb was worth 1 ship + 1 bed + 1 pack clothes + 1 silver cup + 1000 lbs cheese + 2 tons butter + 4 tons beer + 2 hogsheads wine + 48 tons rye + 24 tons wheat + 12 fat sheep + 4 fat oxen + 8 fat pigs!
  • In the 17th Century, everyone, even children, drank as much as a quart of beer every day, as it was thought to be purer than water.
  • By the post WW2 period, many U.S. states passed laws which limited the length of dance marathons after several participants died pushing themselves too far.

There was one topic that gave me pause (actually made me sick) when I read it:  child labor.

  • In 1833, the English Factory Act required children to be at least 9 years old to work.  (At least 9????)
  • Coal companies would load as much as 120 to 170 lbs of coal on the backs of children and they would walk bent over at the waist, carrying the coal out of the mine, parallel to the floor.

Anyway, if you enjoy history, and want to read something in short spurts, this book’s for you.