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Our Dumb World [Paperback]

Inc. The Onion
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
List Price: CDN$ 19.99
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Book Description

Oct. 27 2008
OUR DUMB WORLD is the world's most comprehensive fake atlas: a repository of all known information about the planet Earth (except where covered by clouds).

In late 2007 the hardcover edition became one of the hottest books of the holiday season, entertaining and offending hundreds of thousands of readers around the globe. This new, easy-to-carry paperback edition is perfect for the intrepid traveler to any of the world's exotic locales--from Afghanistan, "Allah's Cat Box," to Ukraine, "the Bridebasket of Europe," to the USA's own Nevada, "Where Everyone's a Loser."

Packed with beautiful full-color maps and framed with inaccurate essays about all the world's peoples and places, OUR DUMB WORLD is a gut-busting send-up in which no nation escapes unscathed.

"Bottom line: laughed my head off." --Deirdre Donahue, USA Today

Frequently Bought Together

Customers buy this book with The Onion Book of Known Knowledge: A Definitive Encyclopaedia Of Existing Information CDN$ 13.20

Our Dumb World + The Onion Book of Known Knowledge: A Definitive Encyclopaedia Of Existing Information
Price For Both: CDN$ 27.63

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About the Author

Every week, three million readers turn to the world's most popular news organization for a much-needed dose of Onion news and entertainment coverage. In a history spanning 15 years, six popular books, and 10 Webby Awards, The Onion has attracted legions of loyal fans drawn to its fearless reporting and scathing commentary on world events, human behavior, and journalistic convention.

From AudioFile

If you chortle and guffaw at the arch and snarky offerings of America's funniest publication, THE ONION, then OUR DUMB WORLD is a compendium of international satire you will cherish. Presented with pompous flourishes and big-voiced aplomb, OUR DUMB WORLD cheekily deflates the egos and efforts of every land on earth in a mock-educational melee of geopolitical and cultural hatchet-jobbery that only the most uptight listener will reject as sophomoric and over the top, which this audio candy certainly can be. OUR DUMB WORLD falters occasionally where many sound adaptations tend to--when very funny text just doesn't translate to narration. And the elaborate coffee-table-book illustrations are hard to emulate in audio. Nonetheless, THE ONION will be bring tears to most listeners' eyes with this offering. D.J.B. 2008 Audies Finalist © AudioFile 2008, Portland, Maine-- Copyright © AudioFile, Portland, Maine --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fewer clouds on maps Nov. 14 2007
Have a quick flick through this book and you might think it was a Dorling Kindersley world atlas. It has all the DK appeal: well produced maps and state flags, interesting photos plus very clean layouts and typography but as soon as you start to read the words you realise your on planet Onion.

The two hundred and two countries mostly get a page each with two pages given to topical (in the American sense) nations like Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Vietnam, North Korea or Cuba for instance. Pages 207-209 covers The Stans: Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakstan. Did you know this last nation has a space programme? Probably not but there is a photo of a rocket strapped to the back of a donkey to prove it.

The two pages on Nigeria kick off with a page email: REQUEST FOR URGENT ASSISTANCE. Dear Reader, WE NEED YOUR HELP May the blessing of God be... and so on in the usual 419 scam prose. The sub-head under Chile says: `Preventing Argentina From Enjoying The Pacific Ocean Since 1818'. It's this offbeat quirky copy that has made The Onion rightly famous and this book contains page after page of it.

As with a real atlas you're not meant to read it all but this is one of the Onion's better efforts and with its high production values I think this will be a well-thumbed book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Hilarious!! Feb. 3 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
You will keep going back to this over and over again. It never gets tired!! Worth every penny and invaluable to anyone who loves fake or skewered news stories. We bought this a few years ago and reference it every time we need a sustained laugh.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Probably the Funniest Book Ever Nov. 20 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This was a gift for someone since I already had the softcover version. Funny from front to back with the highlights being the African countries.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Funniest book April 18 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Intelligent and hilarious, great coffee table book and for a gift! It's a BIG HIT, I highly recommend it, funniest piece of literature!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.1 out of 5 stars  164 reviews
172 of 179 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Area Man Enjoys Book About Areas Nov. 13 2007
By doomsdayer520 - Published on Amazon.com
Are you tired of world atlases that lie about how every country is full of scenic and cultural riches, with charming and friendly people? Wouldn't you like to see an atlas that tells the truth about how dreary and desolate the world really is, with 99% of the human population facing endless suffering and exploitation until their dying breath? Well the erudite social realists at The Onion have delivered an atlas that tells it like it is. For example, you were probably unaware that the leading cause of death in Tanzania is lion tipping, and that Georgia is even more Christian than the other Georgia. Of course The Onion is known for its subversively satirical humor, and here that cracked yet strangely intelligent worldview is applied to the Earth in a fashion similar to the historical coverage of their earlier comedy masterpiece "Our Dumb Century."

Sure some of the national entries in this atlas are built on thin stereotypes (Poland is subjected to never-ending Polish jokes) or cheeky one-issue gags that run out of steam (the entire entry on Jordan is about what a hottie Queen Rania is). But overall, Onion fans will certainly appreciate the depth of humor in this book, because to get the most out of the humor you need some real knowledge on geography and history (for instance, you'd have to know something about mapmaking to figure out why the entry on Greenland is so funny). Meanwhile, that Onion intelligence shines though, sarcastically, in entries for the most suffering countries on Earth (for instance, the genocidal slaughters in Rwanda and Sudan were peacefully resolved because you went to that rally), and there is sinister political satire in the entries for all the many countries that currently have wars going on. WARNING: Read this book with a magnifying glass, and a knowledgeable sense of satire. [~doomsdayer520~]
45 of 46 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Banned at Junior High School April 30 2008
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Apparently social satire is not a popular topic among today's educators. Our son was suspended for three days from Junior high school for bringing this book to school and showing it to some classmates.

My wife and I did not go through the book in detail and realized (too late) that it does contain some offensive language, pictures, and racial references. It was a lot easier to find this offensive content after a school district employee spent an afternoon flagging all of the offending pages with post-its. In my opinion it was all (well mostly all) relevant social commentary, but offensive non the less.

We thought the punishment pretty extreme, given the offensive content is minimal compared to an episode of "South Park" or any version of Grand Theft Auto. I guess you can chalk this one up to bad parenting. Too bad really, as the book humorously attacks some pretty serious issues, it easily engages young adults, and promotes a lot of good discussion.
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not for the thin-skinned April 27 2008
By David in Thornhill - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This book is hilarious but it's also about as un-PC as it gets. If you're sensitive about that, it isn't for you. ODW is funny from cover to cover, and some of it is laugh-out-loud, in the manner of an insult comic's take on the world. The Onion cleverly and often outrageously exploits every national, ethnic, and cultural stereotype there is, both historic and present day. If you can get into that, don't miss this book, and don't miss a word of it including the tiny map notations. If insult comedy bothers you, and no corner of the globe escaped their merciless barbs, spend your money on something else.

I've bought 3 more copies as gifts for family members. When I showed them mine, they so enjoyed leafing through they couldn't wait to borrow it and show it to others themselves. I doubted I'd get it back, though, so I got them their own. It's a terrific gift, as long as you're sure you won't be inadvertently stepping on tender toes.
75 of 98 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Quantity way over quality... Nov. 8 2007
By BMP - Published on Amazon.com
As a big fan of the Onion, I eagerly anticipated the release of this book and admittedly had high expectations for it. Over the past couple of days I've spent about an hour or two looking through it (one doesn't "read" a book like this), and I've pretty much had enough of it. The quality of the material is just not very good when compared to the Onion's other books (that's to say the weekly, topical/"area man" material) and especially the brilliant "Our Dumb Century," which is the Onion's other "concept" book (which is really not that different; it just uses historical eras/events for material).

"Our Dumb World" can be easily compared to the Daily Show's "America: The Book"--especially since the Daily Show book has a whole chapter on the "rest of the world." It's almost like the Onion took the "International House of Horrors" chapter from that book and bloated it out into 200 "dense" pages of mediocre, painfully obvious jokes about every country in the world. Have you ever noticed how the word "dense" can have two meanings? So much of the book is this level of humor, based on these kinds of observations: southerners are stupid racists, the Irish are drunks, and "thank God I don't live in Africa." (I imagine that there must have been at least some discussion over how to address the subjects of genocide, poverty, and famine prevalent in so many regions of the world in a comedy book. Apparently those pitching for the photo-shopped "children feasting on the carcasses of the dead" images were more persuasive in these discussions.)

Ask yourself: What makes the Onion funny? What do its writers do well?

Then think about whether a 200+ page atlas parody could possibly be an effective vehicle for these strengths. I actually think that this book is about as good as it possibly can be based on the inherent weaknesses of the idea. So many of the pages are filler material and endless variations of the same jokes... and jokes that were already made much more elegantly, tastefully, and effectively in the Daily Show's "America: The Book."

I think that "Our Dumb World" may actually appeal more to casual readers (or those unfamiliar with the Onion), than to actual fans that expect a high standard of humor and who know how good its writers can be.
12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You Can Learn a Lot From A Fool Nov. 19 2007
By Charles G. Meyer - Published on Amazon.com
The journalist jesters at the Onion have turned their attention away from the events of the day long enough to tell us a little more about the world we live in. Since this is the Onion, you're not going to come away knowing the chief export of Chile or the most populous city in Uzbekistan. It's not like you'd remember that stuff anyway. Instead, you get a description of Afghanistan as "Allah's Cat Box," and that's hard to forget

As with their take on the news, the Onion writers realize that an atlas isn't so much a collection of facts as it is an attempt to try to make the world make sense from a particular perspective. No matter how neutral an atlas writer thinks they are being, they are in fact comparing and even judging the entire world in opposition to their home culture.

By bringing the bias right to the front and pushing the less important trivia of facts to the rear, The Onion creates a book that is not just more entertaining than your average atlas, but may in fact be a more useful resource in conveying the world we live in then any atlas before it.

When talking about a news source as reliable as the Onion, one can only quote the equally reliable new source -- Wikipedia. Here's what they say about Jesters:

"In societies where the Freedom of Speech was not recognized as a right, the court jester - precisely because anything he said was by definition "a jest" and "the uttering of a fool" - could speak frankly on controversial issues in a way in which anyone else would have been severely punished for, and monarchs understood the usefulness of having such a person at their side."

I think the ability to recognize the seed of truth in the middle of the message of the fool is a skill more of our leaders could use.

And to top it off, the book is funny as hell.
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