Tuesday, October 12, 2010
The Good, the Bad, and the Mad: Some Weird People in American History by E. Randall Floyd
The Good, the Bad, and the Mad is a collection of thirty-seven brief stories on notable people in American History, well, according to the author at least.
Author E. Randall Floyd writes an introduction explaining his fascination with "weirdos" in American History and how he came to compile and write this short volume.
This book is a very, very short glimpse into the lives and histories of these people and provides biographies of each one. By no means is The Good, the Bad, and the Mad detailed in any way, but is more suited to whetting our appetites and sparking our interest in the array of men and women mentioned. For some readers, the book may motivate you to seek out more explicit volumes on the people that actually do interest you!
The most interesting figures featured in this book are P.T. Barnum (the co-founder of Barnum and Bailey Circus), the genius Lizzie Borden (who has always managed to charm me), author Ambrose Bierce (An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge is amazing!), and Sarah Winchester of the crazy mansion with staircases leading to nowhere (which I'm sure inspired Mark Z. Danielewski's House of Leaves and Stephen King's Rose Red to some extent).
Most of the other people featured weren't interesting to me at all and I found their stories quite boring. Overall, I would consider this book an "airplane read" -- not too deep but enjoyable enough to breeze through and walk away with a little more knowledge than you previously had.
Other books by E. Randall Floyd include 100 of the World's Greatest Mysteries: Strange Secrets, More Great Southern Mysteries, and Deep in the Heart.
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