Badass: A Relentless Onslaught of the Toughest Warlords, Vikings, Samurai, Pirates, Gunfighters, and Military Commanders to Ever Live Paperback – Oct 8 2009
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From the Back Cover
An unstoppable collection of the most hardcore figures who ever strapped on chain mail and ran screaming into battle
Throughout history—from the bone-crushing age of antiquity to the sack-tearing modern era—there have been larger-than-life ass-kickers with a natural talent for unleashing their epic bloodlust on anyone who crossed them. They built empires, smashed armies, and ravaged civilizations for wealth, glory, and ultimate supremacy. Sometimes villains, sometimes heroes, sometimes criminally insane, they had one thing in common: They were all . . . Badass!
An Indian warlord who commanded an army of drunken war elephants and employed an elite detachment of highly trained female bodyguards
An unsung hero of the American Revolution, this powerful giant battled the British with a massive five-foot-long broadsword
Wolf the Quarrelsome
A mysterious barbarian leader who only appears in history twice—and both times he's kicking someone's ass
A fearless Gurkha who won the Victoria Cross by clearing out six Japanese foxholes with nothing more than grenades, a bayonet, and a knife
From Alexander the Great to George S. Patton, from Genghis Khan to Bruce Lee, this pantheon of ass-kicking awesomeness should inspire you to quit your stupid job and dive headfirst into a new career as a professional badass.
About the Author
Ben Thompson has run the warhammer of a website badassoftheweek.com since 2004, and has written humorous history-related columns for outlets such asCracked,Fangoria,Penthouse, and the American Mustache Institute. Even though he's never flown a jetpack over the Atlantic Ocean or punched someone so hard that his head exploded, he is considered by many to be the world's foremost expert on badassitude. He is the author ofBadass and Badass: The Birth of a Legend.
Top Customer Reviews
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
The writing style is humorous and light, but admittedly it sometimes borders on juvenile. There are obvious embellishments (I've never actually seen someone crushed under the weight of testicles, but there are things on earth I haven't seen). However, I give the writing style a thumbs up because the author presented a lot of good history in a form that would even keep the attention of a 13 year old boy.
The author does have an odd fetish with faces. He mentioned "face" 105 times in the book, mainly accompanying words like "crush", "stab", or "burn." Oorah!
#1: BADASS is very, very good. So good, it is as though Odin himself reached into Valhalla, chose the 40 best heros of history and penned their history into this wonderfully illustrated tome.
#2: After I purchased BADASS, I opened the book to the Library of Congress page. I was immediately slapped in the face by the sheer awesomeness of it. I was transported through history and witnessed, FIRST HAND, the amazing exploits of the legendary historic characters. Once I regained consciousness I actually read it.
#3: This book is so funny that I laughed until my nose bled. I got blood on the pages of the book (it seemed appropriate), but the blood was absorbed by the pages. I think the book was feeding on it.
#4: The information in this book is all historically accurate. And I should know. I work at a university.
The author, Ben Thompson, runs a site called [...]. He searches the history books for badasses. Not all of the badasses are men, nor are they all from the 20th century, which is refreshing. Thompson relates the stories with gusto, like a teenaged/college aged boy would describe a videogame boss fight to his friends--and this generates interest. The stories of these people maintain that interest. The humor seals the deal. There may be a bit of 'embellishment' in relating the stories, but this doesn't detract in the least. And each chapter is only at most five pages long--perfect for a short attention span or when you only have a minute here or there to read. So of course, I read the whole thing in a couple of hours, with a pause here and there.
This might be a good book for a person who doesn't read a lot to improve their reading skills with a high interest book. It would be perfect for a reader who has trouble with maintaining attention when reading. In short, this is a perfect book to encourage reading in older teenaged boys. The language is really the only thing I think that a parent might take issue with, but since the profanity is a part of the schtick and not specifically gratuitous, I wouldn't have a problem if my 15 year old decided to read it.
Though I should have known from the title, the rhetorical style of the author is something akin to a fourteen-year-old comic book nerd who has learned a few words of how “real men” talk and parrots them ad nauseam in attempt at Spike TV-type “manliness”. A few pages in, it becomes extremely tiresome, and it is sustained throughout the books 300+ pages, for the most part. I bought the book as a review of some interesting figures in history—and it does contain interesting figures—including some of my heroes like Miyamoto Musashi, Khalid bin Waleed, and Bruce Lee. But one cannot help wondering if it is an extended satirical piece mocking those who would worship testosterone. Sadly, it seems to have been written in earnest with an attempt at humor. It rarely is successful in its attempts. Crassness is not the same as humor.
Unfortunately, the majority of his history is nothing but the shallowest of readings in unquestioning military propaganda where the ideological bias of the author is very much in evidence. For me, a clear indication of the author’s truly retarded vision of history is when he calls the Civil War, the “American Civil War of Northern Aggression Between the States” (234).
Annoying misusage of an important term: He misuses even common contemporary terms like “chicana”, applying it to indigenous (or mestizo?—it is unclear who he generally refers to) women during the time of the conquistadors in Central America, while the terms “Chicano” and “Chicana” apply only to Mexican Americans.
His chapter on Musashi erroneously states that he got no martial arts training (he became an autonomous and spontaneous master) which overlooks his own family’s lineage in martial arts and the instruction he received from his own father (read the masterful study “Miyamoto Musashi: His Life and Writings” by Kenji Tokitsu for thoroughly researched evidence on this issue).
Frustratingly sloppy history: “When those crazy Commies started their wacky hijinks in 1966….” (300). Without going over the entire history of our pre-1965 involvement in the Vietnam War, or the fact that it wasn’t necessarily the Commies “hijinks”, but many of ours—a legacy of European colonialism and our ascendancy as arguably the greatest world power—that led to 200,000 American troops on the ground in Vietnam by the end of 1965—I have no idea how any writer can be so disrespectful or any editor so negligent so as to allow this mistake to be published. And it is on the chapter on the great sniper, Carlos Hathcock, whose book I read on the recommendation of my decorated Vietnam veteran father. A historian has an obligation to know his facts well, and to convey them in a clear manner. When Thompson quotes Wilde in his bibliography as saying “Anybody can make history. Only a great man can write it.”, I think that it has to be remembered that an essential element in greatness is hard work.
I do not often write condemnatory reviews of books, but the ubiquitous bigotry and stupid crassness of the book was disappointing—as well as were the ideological biases of the book—though I understand this is important for creating a humorous effect . A rewritten version, cleaned up, made more humorous without resorting so much crassness, the facts checked more thoroughly, etc. would actually be a great book. The format—providing an engaging brief narrative with well-executed illustrations, a few related facts in boxes in connection with each chapter, etc.—is actually a good format and one that could be beneficial for many age groups—but I definitely cannot say this for this edition.