Earth: A Visitor’s Guide to the Human Race by Jon Stewart

Rating: ***** (5 out of 5)

Review: An encyclopedia left behind by Humanity to the aliens of the future, who will eventually visit our planet after the pending extinction of humankind. It attempts to explain to an outsider the intricate aspects of human life, and while doing so, it exposes the madness of it all.

After reading America (The Book): A Citizen’s Guide to Democracy Inaction, I knew better than to expect a hilarious book from the writers of the Daily Show. In fact, while undoubtedly funny at times, the tone is mostly sarcastic, and I found this book to be utterly depressing. Humanity is so incredible, and at the same time so incredibly ridiculous.

It’s by no means complete, literary or comprehensive, nor was it meant to be. Recommended as an easy to read, difficult to swallow account of the human madness.

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America (The Book) by Jon Stewart

Rating: ***** (5 out of 5)

Review: I’m a big fan of Jon Stewart and The Daily Show, but for some reason I’d never felt curious to read any of their books until this year. I considered starting with Earth (the book): A Visitor’s Guide to the Human Race, but thought I’d go through this older one first.

I have to admit, when I started I was a bit taken aback. I don’t know what I expected, but the first chapter (“Democracy before America”) was written with such an unapologetic disregard for History that I couldn’t even find it funny, at first. However, once the initial “shock” had passed, this book got funny as hell. It’s opinionated, scandalous, hilarious, and so spot-on that my bittersweet feeling of not knowing whether to laugh or get depressed was sustained throughout the whole book.

This is presented in the form of an educational book for children, and since the content couldn’t be further away from that demographic, it’s doubly funny to see “helpful” diagrams, maps, games and illustration to help the reader understand a little better this wonderful but deeply flawed thing we call Democracy.

Highly recommended. Read with an open mind!

Old Europe explained.