Look, this is a bit of a hard one for me to review. I’m not entirely sure why. I mean, I liked Cory O’Brien’s previous book about mythology, so it stands to reason that I would like this.
And I do, let’s not argue about that.
But it feels a bit weirder to be writing about actual people with the same pisstakery that’s perhaps reasonable for mythological figures.
I should really point you towards my review of the first book as it pretty much gives the broad strokes. The writing is engaging, and the stories told inspire the reader to check out other sources in order to learn more. And I appreciate that the stories he’s telling here – Al Capone, George Washington, Tesla/Edison, amongst others – are faintly mythical themselves.
There’s a whole mythology-creating process that occurs as part of the recording of history in all its biased-account glory, and O’Brien is gunning for that. It just seems that some of the profane levity might be taken badly given that he’s here covering native American histories, or the Underground Railroad. Yes, it’s all a schtick (and fuck, I’m not even American) but it occasionally felt a bit flat, or a bit like the sound of a bum note.
Still, it’s a good book for the can, and a good book to get the reader interested in drier sources. That’s reason enough to give this a spin. So y’might as well.