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Strange But True America: 11/28/10

cover art

I remember as a child, all the way through my teens, reading local history pamphlets and books. We did a lot of family camping trips, driving to out of the way places and every place we stopped seemed to have a gift store that sold a book about it's unusual history. Invariably the book would be illustrated in pen and ink cartoons. Strange But True America by John Hafnor with illustrations by Dale Crawford is done in the style of these books but it covers all 50 states.

Each state gets two pages: a page of text and a full-page illustration. The text covers either a person, event or unusual place from the state. I'm sure that every state has dozens of such stories to cover. The topic for each state isn't the obvious one or even the second most obvious one. These are odd ball stories but still fascinating.

California's story, for instance doesn't cover the gold rush, the missions, the golden gate, Hollywood or anything along those lines. Nope; it's Murphy's Law. Interestingly, "Murphy's Law" was either coined in California or in Wyoming. Or possibly both places. Sure, it's not what I would have chosen for my state, but I did learn something new!

At the back of the book there are a few extra pages of nationwide oddities, like near misses with unexploded bombs. This coda is a nice way of bringing the book to a close.

I received a copy for review from the author.

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