An Incomplete Education by Judy Jones and William Wilson

Synopsis:

126041How do you tell the Balkans from the Caucasus? What’s the difference between fission and fusion? Whigs and Tories? Shiites and Sunnis? Deduction and induction? Why aren’t all Shakespearean comedies necessarily thigh-slappers? What are transcendental numbers and what are they good for? What really happened in Plato’s cave? Is postmodernism dead or just having a bad hair day? And for extra credit, when should you use the adjective continual and when should you use continuous?

An Incomplete Education answers these and thousands of other questions with incomparable wit, style, and clarity. American Studies, Art History, Economics, Film, Literature, Music, Philosophy, Political Science, Psychology, Religion, Science, and World History: Here’s the bottom line on each of these major disciplines, distilled to its essence and served up with consummate flair.

Review:

A guide to all the little things that bugged you but you never bothered googling. Which is higher ranking, a baron or a marquess? What’s the difference between i.e. and e.g.? And what was the deal with World War I, anyway?

I learned a bunch and am glad I read it, but I’d love to see an updated edition. The section on commonly misspelled words feels out of date (huzzah spell check!), and the bit on international affairs is missing ten years of news. And let’s just erase the joke about coveting your neighbor’s VCR, okay?

Which reminds me – this book is very funny in places. The irreverent tone keeps you interested and giggling even though the topic is British poets, say, or string theory. That being said I kinda wish I had this as a reference on my shelf – reading it as a library ebook with a deadline killed some of the joy. Don’t worry about memorizing every little fact; let the knowledge wash over you. Soak it in.

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