The History of the World According to Facebook: A Parody!!! by Wylie Overstreet
Published by It Books, an imprint of HarperCollins
Facebook chronicles so many of our moments, from personal (and sometimes. far too personal) to large, culture-changing events. Of course, Facebook doesn’t exactly have much historical depth, having only been around since 2004. Yes, there were posts about Obama’s historic election in 2008, but we’ve missed even such paradigm-shifting events as 9/11, let alone the Renaissance, or even the Big Bang.What if Facebook had been around from the beginning of time? What sort of record, perhaps even from the people involved in historic events, might we have now?
Answering this question, or parodying this question, at least, is Wylie Overstreet’s The History of the World According to Facebook. Or, you know, a history of the Western world according to Facebook. The book opens with the creation of the universe and Earth, with a mixture of scientific and religious posts. From there, we move through ancient history, primarily through Biblical stories – ostensibly because they are familiar to most people – with a bit of Greek and Roman history mixed in. There are also sections devoted to the Renaissance, the Industrial Revolution (apparently defined here as post-US Civil War approximately through the Vietnam War), and the modern history of The Information Age. Notably missing, however, is anything not directly dealing with the Western world. Some things I might have expected to see include the rise of Islam and any piece of Chinese history. Some of Japan’s ‘wall posts’ did make it in, although only when they were bombing Pearl Harbor.
Of course, The History of the World According to Facebook is not meant to be a comprehensive history of the world by any means. It is meant to be silly, poking fun both at history and Facebook. At that, it is certainly successful. Nothing was particularly laugh-out-loud funny, but most of the material is indeed rather humorous. That being said, The History of the World According to Facebook is something best consumed a few pages at a time. Overstreet himself mentions in the introduction that is ideally suited as a bathroom book. Reading an entire section – or more – at a time leads to fatigue with Overstreet’s humor and decreases enjoyment of the book.
If you’re looking for a funny book to pick up for a few minutes here and there, The History of the World According to Facebook by Wylie Overstreet is definitely one to consider.
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