American History is the second ‘best of’ collection of best-selling books that reveal the origins and history of just about everything we can think of. (Money for Old Rope is the first in the series) In fact, as one wise man suggested, it is the history of everything you didn’t realise you wanted to know about, until you found out about it. A must have for dinner conversations and pub chat the world over, this book of history will help to make you feel clever.
In this edition we reveal the history of more of our favourite phrases and learn why blood is thicker than water, something bites the dust, we can be double crossed, what the graveyard shift is, why it can be cold enough to freeze the balls off a brass monkey and why that Cheshire Cat grins so often. There are hundreds more tales from history that explain how the English language became so rich and expressive.
Then famous urban legends also get an airing including the creepy case of a frozen Walt Disney, the legendary stolen kidney story and did Keith Moon really drive his roller into a swimming pool? These tales are hilariously explained along with many others. Then the world’s great mysteries are covered in ten minutes flat and the truth about Bigfoot, who really makes Crop Circles and what really happened to Glenn Miller, among others, is revealed. As are the true stories behind Little Miss Muffet, Old Mother Hubbard, Ring a Ring a Rose’s and Pop Goes the Weasel. Many more of our childhood favourite rhymes are also exposed in all of their gory glory.
Then, of course, the fabulous stories of The Molly Maguire’s, The Green Man, The Royal Oak, The Rose and Crown and the White Hart are revealed and why they are remembered in that typically English fashion of naming a high street pub after them. Loads more of our favourite local boozers also have a tale to tell involving a historic person, or event.
Then we move into the food section and we find out who Caesar was and what he did for your salad, how the people from Hamburg brought their hamburger with them from Germany, and what the French had to do with your favourite fries. The great stars from the past have also influenced our favourite foods and we find out what Anna Pavlova had to do with deserts and how Suzette flavoured our crepes. Of course such a section would not be complete until we find out how the Country Captain Chicken found its way onto the menu as America’s first curry.
Finally we turn to words and discover who first passed the buck and who staged the first Boycott. How the word doolally became part of our culture and the same too for the hecklers and why political rallies in Scotland first created the art of heckling. Who were the original patsy’s, what is Groundhog Day and who were the first dunces? In fact, Money for Old Rope – Part 2 reveals the delightful history of just about everything, from the Anoraks to the Zombies.
Cape Town - August 2015