You Did What?: Mad Plans and Incredible Mistakes

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Harper Collins, Oct 13, 2009 - History - 304 pages
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History has never been more fun than it is in this fact-filled compendium of historical fiascoes and embarrassingly bad ideas.

Throughout history, the rich and powerful, and even just the dim-witted, have made horrifically bad decisions that have had resounding effects on our world. From kings to corporate leaders, from captains to presidents, no one is immune to bad decisions and their lasting legacy. The fiascoes that litter our history are innumerable ... and fascinating in their foolishness. This witty collection of historical mayhem chronicles unwise decisions from ancient Greece to modern-day Hollywood and everything in between. Learn such lessons as:

  • Never trust Greeks bearing gifts of large wooden horses.
  • Avoid building elementary schools on toxic waste dumps, even those with sweet monikers like Love Canal.
  • Rabbits multiply like rabbits Down Under.
  • Even if you use brightly colored paint on the boats, it's quite easy to misplace an entire country's navy.

With more than forty-five chapters of mind-boggling flubs and follies, fans of history, trivia, and those who just want a good laugh will adore this intriguing and fun read.


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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Meggo - LibraryThing

Terrible. Written at a 5th grade level, this book approaches major debacles in history with a depth that must be measured in microns. Each chapter, covering a new event, is no more than three pages ... Read full review

User Review - Flag as inappropriate

This is a fun book, even though it's not really new. It plots some of the great errors in history, from the Trojan Horse to New Coke, occasionally meditating on the effects of those errors. For example, was the Russian Revolution given an assist by a young Winston Churchill? Was No, No, Nannette really worth 86 years to the Red Sox? And why on Earth didn't Nixon burn the tapes?
The chapters are short, and most of the stories are familiar, from William Harrison's rejection of a topcoat to the careless captaining of the Titanic.


You Appointed Whom? 170
You Created a Wonder Drug? 183
You Sent Whom Governor?
You Are Shocking
You Shot Whom?
You Wore What?
You Sold Whom for How Much? 190
You Lost What?
You Built It Where? 203
You Choose Whom? 212
You Forged What? 226
You Vaccinated Whom Against What? 246
You Assassinated Whom? 263
You Forgot to Ask Them What? 272

You Taught Them What?
You Put Him in Charge of What?
You Ignored Whose Warning?

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About the author (2009)

Bill Fawcett is the author and editor of more than a dozen books, including You Did What?, It Seemed Like a Good Idea . . . , How to Lose a Battle, and You Said What? He lives in Illinois.

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