Don't Know Much about History

Version: Abridged
Author: Kenneth C. Davis
Narrator: Kenneth C. Davis
Genres: History
Publisher: Random House (Audio)
Published In: September 1998
# of Units: 3 CDs
Length: 3 hours
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“Fun, engrossing, and significant. . . . History in Davis’s hands is loud, coarse, painful, funny, irreverent—and memorable.”—San Francisco Chronicle

Here, celebrating the twentieth anniversary of its debut as a New York Times bestseller, is the revised, updated, and expanded edition of the classic anti-textbook that changed the way we look at history. First published two decades ago, when the “closing of the American mind” was in the headlines, Don’t Know Much About® History proved Americans don’t hate history—just the dull version that was dished out in school.

Now Davis has brought his groundbreaking work up to the present, including the history of an “Era of Broken Trust,” from the end of the Clinton administration through the recent Great Recession. This additional material covers the horrific events of 9/11 and the rise of conspiracy theorists, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Hurricane Katrina and the failure of the New Orleans levees, the global financial meltdown, the election of Barack Obama, and the national controversy of same-sex marriage.

Reviews (11)

Don't Know Much About History

Written by mightyjoe on March 2nd, 2009

  • Book Rating: 1/5

I have to agree with the other reviewers, it really is just for those who "don't know much about history." Adds little to the educational process, and written with typical, populist left-wing slant- Nixon was evil, Reagan was stupid, etc. Skip it.


Written by Gayle Weston on April 4th, 2008

  • Book Rating: 2/5

I am already a lover of history...interesting history, but this book was not as entertaining as I had hoped. The various historical summaries are very short and I was hoping for more little known facts. I only heard 4 or 5 things I didn't already know and they were just quotes from people that I already knew were interesting, like Benjamin Franklin or Abraham Lincoln. I wouldn't recommend it if you have any previous historical knowledge.


Written by Anonymous from San Francisco, CA on March 2nd, 2007

  • Book Rating: 5/5

Lots of useful and interesting information without being dry or with too much detail.

Absolutely loved it

Written by Pamela Buchheit on October 24th, 2006

  • Book Rating: 5/5

I rented this book unabridged from my college. Wow, it is so insigtful. I have never learned so much at one time in my life. He refreshes your memory, and adds to it, with so many great facts that you probably didn't know. I listened to the whole 19 cd's and loved every minute of it!

Don't waste your time

Written by Randy Anderson on February 20th, 2006

  • Book Rating: 1/5

Retitle the book... US History snippets through Blue colored glasses - or better yet let's find little know facts that support all the wrongs in our history give a 2006 Liberal view of the world.

Don't Know Much About History [abr]

Written by Anonymous on June 29th, 2005

  • Book Rating: 3/5

Although I picked this selection by mistake, I found it interesting enough to listen to the entire series. A lots of interesting tid bits about American History that should complement anyone who desires to brush up on history.

History in whort

Written by Howeln from Alpine, CA on May 20th, 2005

  • Book Rating: 3/5

I would like to see this in a uab. In the abr format, topics are very short. For example, the first section when the author gets to history, talks for only 3 min on Columbus. He does state in the long first two sections, what this collection is about - "this is the first word on the subject, not the last word." He sums up the event, points out some interesting and usually unknown facts, and pulls apart some myths people think are facts. The sections were interesting, but about the time you get interested (about 3min each), the author moves on to a different subject. There is potential here, and if I had a tape player, I would see if they are any better. Hopefully he is longer on each subject. This is a good source for some interesting info to use as a seed for a report. Find out the info, then do the research from there. Have to get an a just for variety - assuming the teacher doesn't slam you for what they see as errors with the school history books.


Written by Ken Crosson from Marietta, GA on March 16th, 2005

  • Book Rating: 2/5

Obviously, no single book can provide an exhaustive overview of even a single branch of history. But no subject in this book is given more than a superficial, cursory treatment, which is much more frustrating than it is illuminating or educational. The abridgement seems poorly done as well, leading to off-putting absences of antecedents; the description of the events in the Gulf of Tonkin, for example, has two ships being sent to the gulf to respond to what is only described as "the incident". The description of whatever they were responding to was cut in the abridgement (I assume), but the reference was not. Those complaints aside, anyone who managed merely to stay awake in junior high history classes will already know everything discussed in this book. And the survey-style approach, which covers so many topics in so little time, and so superficially, means this book can add little if anything to such knowledge.

Don't Know Much About History

Written by DAS on December 8th, 2004

  • Book Rating: 2/5

Somewhat disappointing. The author has done his research and the question/answer format is fun and interesting. However, be prepared to hear questions and answers about how the U.S. has been so "bad" throughout its history. The author's "politically correct" bias comes through way too often. Example: "..... the foolish concept of attempting to fight Communism through military action ..... " when talking about one of the Vietnam War's events. By the end of the book I was getting depressed and was aching to hear at least one more Q/A about a positive event in U.S. history.

Don't Know Much About History

Written by Colleen on November 1st, 2004

  • Book Rating: 3/5

I didn't realize this book was a question and answer format. It is, therefore, best suited as a book, i.e., written form, reference.

Author Details

Author Details

Davis, Kenneth C.

Kenneth C. Davis is the bestselling author of "America's Hidden History" and "Don't Know Much About(R) History", which spent thirty-five consecutive weeks on the "New York Times" bestseller list, has sold nearly 1.6 million copies, and gave rise to his phenomenal "Don't Know Much About(R)" series for adults and children. He lives in New York City and Dorset, Vermont.