Tuesday, November 10, 2009
Book Report: There Are Aligators In Our Sewers & Other American Credos by Paul Dickson & Joseph C. Goulden (1983)
My goodness, if you've ever wanted to read a book composed of 88% bullet points, look no further. I'd hoped this book would be a thoughtful exploration of things Americans believe, but this is no Jan Harold Brunvand book. The authors have modeled it upon a book by H.L. Mencken from the 1920s. It lists, sorted by chapter, a variety of things they say Americans believe ca. 1983. A few of the credos have parenthetical notes to pooh pooh the rubes who believe it, but most are just bullet points of statements such as "That it does not bother a lobster to be boiled alive."

The end of the book has an actual chapter of paragraphs talking about modern fables, i.e., urban legends. It even includes outlines of a couple of them (not in actual outlines, you know, but I could see why you would expect it with this book). Then there's an extensive index to the bullets.

It's a quick read and a good nightstand book with easy places to break off, but seriously, in the 21st century, you get more from Snopes.com and its thousands of pop-under ads.

Books mentioned in this review:

To say Noggle, one first must be able to say the "Nah."