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An Uncommon History of Common Things Hardcover – Nov 17 2009


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An Uncommon History of Common Things + An Uncommon History of Common Courtesy: How Manners Shaped the World + The Knowledge Book: Everything You Need to Know to Get by in the 21st Century
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: National Geographic (Nov. 17 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1426204205
  • ISBN-13: 978-1426204203
  • Product Dimensions: 25.4 x 19 x 2.5 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 Kg
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #103,322 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


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Front Cover | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By BigB on Jan. 4 2011
Format: Hardcover
I gave this book to the family for Christmas "From Santa", and since I had 10 days off work over Christmas, I had time to pick it up several times. It is a very interesting book if you have a desire to know the origins of sayings, holidays, and almost anything else you can think of. It is a fun, fact filled book that even gives you 10 best home remedies for common ailments. It's a great book for your own home "library".
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I just love books like this. I saw it in the National Geographic catalogue, but it was much more expensive than on Amazon. Glad I was able to buy it here. Great content and great gift-giving idea!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 46 reviews
47 of 48 people found the following review helpful
Did they do ANY research? Dec 12 2011
By Lacerta Regina - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
My husband bought this book because he wanted a bathroom reader and I'm a useless-information junkie. I was hoping the book would be packed with nifty tidbits and juicy anecdotes. But halfway through it, I was getting the sneaking suspicion a lot of what I was reading was ... well ... somewhat lacking in the facts department.
The entries are, for the most part, excessively brief and throw out bits of history and culture helter-skelter, without any attempt at context. I assumed that was just the editors, trying to make things fit on the page. There were several instances in the sections on traditions, ceremonies and rituals where a single origin theory was presented as fact, when there are actually several competing theories (as with the origins of Mother Goose).
But when I got to the bit on baby names, I felt like smacking myself in the forehead. The authors had NO idea what they were talking about as regards Scandinavian names -- they said the children of Olaf would be Harald Olafsson (son) and Sigrid Olafsson (daughter). Then, to compound their error, they said some Scandinavian names followed the maternal line, and the children of Sigrid would be named Liv Sigridsdottir and Leif Sigridsdottir. That's the stupidest thing I've ever read. "Son" means son (obviously) and "dottir" means daughter. Not even the drunkest Viking would name his son daughter-of-Sigrid.
My only conclusion is the authors came across some girls named for their mothers and made the stunning leap that ALL of that family's kids had the same surname.
I have to wonder how many other times similar errors and leaps of illogic were made; clearly their fact-checkers (if they had any) did not do their jobs.
In short, the book is somewhat entertaining, but its claims to be a "history" of any sort are questionable at best. It is a collection of popular theory, rumor, myth and legend, packaged in a bright, easy-to-read volume. But before you go quoting it to anyone, you might want to check your "facts."
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
disapointed Aug. 30 2013
By Russell C. Hendrix - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I enjoy these types of books with lots of useless information. I found this one to be overly wordy filled with generalities and very little factual information. For example "Modern Pizza is basically no more than a circle of dough spread with sauce and sprinkled with cheese". Really? who would have ever guessed that?? on Plastic ware "today there are many different kinds of plastic containers available for food storage..." I had no idea, lol. Luckily the book was cheap.
16 of 22 people found the following review helpful
good for both 11 year olds and 63 year olds Feb. 10 2010
By Susan - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I gave this as a gift to my goddaughter and my husband. Both are thoroughly enjoying the trivia and tales. It makes for a lot of "Did you know?" conversations that are both fun and engaging.
20 of 28 people found the following review helpful
Uncommon History of Common Things Feb. 1 2010
By Turtle - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Great book! Alot of fun to read! Bought for husband as Christmas present. Lots of interesting and facts and antedotes in this book, worth the money. Will read myself when he gets done!
13 of 18 people found the following review helpful
This book is available in paperback Oct. 19 2011
By Disappointed in St. Louis - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Fun book but I felt is was too expensive in hardback. I am not sure why Amazon is not selling the paperback version but I found it for $9.98 in my local big box book store. This seems to be one case where Amazon does not have everything.

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