31 May 2010

Book Review: Badass

A Relentless Onslaught of the Toughest Warlords, Vikings, Samurai, Pirates, Gunfighters, and Military Commanders to Ever Live

Buy  |  Borrow  |  Accept  |  Avoid

Plot Synopsis
Really I think the title says it all; this ultra-fun and oddly historically informative book features 40 of the toughest masters and mistresses of badassery to grace our past, plus bits and snippets of other badass facts.

Written in 40 chapters, Badass not only gives a brief and hilarious accounting of these tough-as-nails-in-your-eye-sockets heroes and villains, it also provides asides and side notes, meaning you get even more historical baddassery.

My Thoughts
While I generally consider myself a peace-loving person, more hippie than warmonger, I can't help but admire the bravery, strategery (not a misspelling), and insanity of these people.  They had within them a strength, a passion, that I do not.  Here are a few random badasses (links will take you to the complete article):

Anne Bonny:  a crazy mean-ass pirate bitch who sailed across the Carribean Sea fucking up anybody who looked at her funny and generally being a kickass scourge of the seas, making a name for herself by hacking the arms off of merchant sailors, stepping on their necks, and then shooting them out of a cannon face-first into a brick wall.

Julia Agrippina: "Rome's Sweetheart", kind of like Julia Roberts, only if instead of acting in charming romantic comedies she hacked Osama bin Laden's arms off with a chainsaw, nuked North Korea, and poisoned half of the House of Representatives to death with cyanide cupcakes.

Wolf the Quarrelsome: First off, his fucking name is Wolf.  You don't get a name like Wolf by being a seventy-pound nerd that gives himself a hernia trying to pick up a box of file folders (unless of course it's like an uninspired RPG handle or something, but even then you would never have the fucking balls to ask your friends to start referring to you as "Wolf" in your day-to-day life).  Wolf is a serious fucking name.

Chandragupta Maurya:  In addition to being a destroyer of armies, a ruler of men, and a conqueror of cities, Chandragupta was also awesome because he was more paranoid than a crazy pothead conspiracy theorist on a guided tour of the Pentagon.

Seriously, I would love to go on and on with this list, but I'll stop now.

Leaving the subject matter aside, let me just say that Thomspon's tone and way with words had me laughing out loud on more than one occasion. As you can see by the above quotes, Thompson uses irreverent humor and naughty words to get his point across, so if that's not for you, well Thompson says you can "go join a convent".  He's just freaking hilarious, in my opinion, and if you'd like to see what I'm talking about (or not..whatever) you should head over to Badass of the Week, Thompson's website which inspired the book.

I can not stress enough how much I enjoyed this book.  Fascinated by the history of violence and rampantly jealous of this style of writing, I will probably read this one over and over again. 

Other Reviews
If I've missed yours, let me know!

Anyone?  Anyone?

Question:  Is it cooler to whack off someone's head with a sword, smash someone's face in with your own head, or eviscerate someone with a machete?

FTC Disclosure:  In the spirit of this book, I say: Bought it bitch.
Challenges: 100+ Reading Challenge, Reading Resolutions, Women UnBound, Hogwarts Reading Challenge, Non-Fiction Five,


  1. I vote for the machete! Machetes rule! Funny, when I saw the title of the post, I thought it had something to do with that movie that just came out a month or two ago. This is the type of thing that is just my speed!

  2. Wolf the Quarrelsome- I love that name. I can't decide what is better Wolf or Quarrelsome. I think I'd like to be called 'Chris the Quarrelsome'. Although I'm thinking this guy was more than just quarrelsome.

    Um, I vote for sword.

  3. Hi Trisha! I found your blog on the blog hop a few weeks ago, and have really enjoyed your posts. Therefore, I'm giving you the Bodacious Book Reviewer Award. You can pick up your award at http://bibliophiliac-bibliophiliac.blogspot.com

  4. Sandy - I think you'd like this. It was just so funny.

    Chris the Quarrelsome - I'm thinking I want to be Trisha the UberScary...

    bibliophiliac - Thanks so much!

  5. Sounds like a funass book about badasses! And it seems to inspire everyone to tack on ass to the end of words. How great would this be if it was history textbook!? Fun review!

  6. This sounds like something I'd love. I don't know why, but I love this kind of stuff and have often wondered if it's written while blindingly drunk...I mean, how else can someone be so irreverently funny?

  7. Jenners - History would have been much more fun with books like this!

    Empress - I love irreverent humor too! The snarky, sarcastic, over-the-top tone is just fun to read.

  8. LOL omg I can't stop laughing. They all sound hilarious, and the book itself sounds like a true gem. Definitely worth the money!

  9. Amy - You should buy it! It's hilarious. I really love books like this because I laugh out loud, and my husband always gives me a "you're so totally crazy look" when I do that, especially if we are in a public place.

  10. Besides the fact that your review cracked me up, I like learning this kind of stuff. I actually knew about bad ass Anne Bonny thanks to a Pirate exhibit. There was one other pirate chick like Anne but I can't think of her name. Thanks for the recommendation Trisha!

  11. Jenny Girl - You should definitely pick this book up!

  12. lol, i'm so glad that you enjoyed this.

    and i'd definitely vote for whacking heads. making heads roll...

  13. Lisa - The book really was tons of fun, and that is the way I like my history.

  14. Hi Trisha,

    Your review was just forwarded along to me by a friend, so I just wanted to drop by and say thanks so much for all of your kind words! I'm glad to hear you liked the book!

    As for the answer to your excellently-posed question, I'd like to point out that there's really no such thing as "overkill", especially if you're killing someone who really really deserves it. The badass thing to do would be incorporate all three tactics together: decapitate the dude with a sword, headbutt the severed head out of mid-air (preferably sending it flying through a basketball hoop, if available), and then disembowl your foe with one move before walking off into the sunset while a mushroom cloud explodes behind you.


    P.S. Empress, it's not so much blindingly-drunk, but rather obscenely-overcaffeinated. It's cheaper, and less likely to get me fired if I need to write during downtime at my day job!

  15. This sounds awesome! Off to see if my library has it.

  16. Ben - How very cool to have you stop by! Thanks. I think I'd reorder your death scene in order to maximize pre-death pain. So face smashing, disembowling, head chopping....

    J.T. - I highly recommend it. Obviously. And if you can't get your fix with the book, definitely check out the website.


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