Who wrote this book and when?
Agnes Hooper Gottlieb, Brent Bowers, Henry Gottlieb, and Barbara Bowers collaborated on this book in 1998.

Has there been a film version?
Errr…no?

Who are the important characters?
There are 1,000 of them, so excuse me if I don’t list them all…

What’s it about?
It takes a look at the past 1,000 years and the people who influenced nearly every aspect of life – from science to religion to entertainment. Then they earn points in five categories: Lasting influence (10,000 possible points), Effect on the sum total of wisdom and beauty in the world (5,000 point max), Influence on the contemporaries (4,000 point max), Singularity of contribution (3,000 point max), and charisma (2,000). Then – it puts them in order from 1 to 1,000.

Why is this book a classic/bestseller?
It isn’t. Which is why I found it on the bargain table.

Do you recommend I read this book?
If you’re a history fiend such as I – then yes. Although, it’s kind of a coffee table book without the big glossy pictures.

Why did this book make your list?
Mostly cuz it was only 8 dollars. 🙂

Has it won any awards?
Nope.

Favorite quotes:
I will forego the quotes and list my five favorite entries:
#27 Peter the Great: the czar who built Russia into a great power by Westernizing it.
Posing as “Sergeant Mikhaylov” on a trip through Holland, England, and Austria in 1697-98, Peter seized upon the technological innovations of those countries wherever he saw them. Back home, he launched a feverish program to create Russia’s first navy and modernize its military, designing some of the guns himself. He banned beards – too “Asian” – and sheared recalcitrant aristocrats himself. He would sometimes smack his ministers with his walking stick, especially if he were hung over from one of his massive drinking bouts. He was ruthless in amassing power, yet once, awestruck at a conspirator’s ability to withstand torture, Peter walked up to him, kissed him, and forgave him. He died from a fever after diving from his yacht into icy waters to save a boatload of drowning soldiers. (21, 317)

#257 Francis Drake: Mr. Mission Impossible for Queen Elizabeth I
Good morning, Mr. Drake. Your mission, if you choose to accept it, is to keep England independent by singeing the beards of Spaniards and taking their treasure. If you or any member of your force is caught or killed, the queen will disavow any knowledge of your actions. Drake was the best seafaring warrior in outgunned Elizabeth’s war against Spain. And though Queen Elizabeth pretended he was an unauthorized brigand, she was able to repay her entire foreign debt with the wealth he capture from the Spanich during his three-year trip around the world in the Golden Hind. The booty was worth $30 million in today’s money. The red-haired fanatical Protestant and music lover – he brought an orchestra on his trips – died of fever on an expedition. When the Spanish heard, they danced in the streets. This entry will self destruct in ten seconds. (15,145)

#272 & 273 Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm: Publishers of children’s fairy tales
Once upon a time there were two brothers who were inseparable. They went to school together, and when their father died and the family lost all its money, they found a way, through the kindness of others, to attend graduate school. Together they studied ancient German literature and folklore. When Wilhelm married the daughter of a druggist, the three of them lived as a family, and she dutifully cared for the domestic needs of the two brothers. They wrote down the tales of storytellers throughout the region and published 156 stories in two volumes. The stories reinforced nineteenth-century morality and upheld the Protestant ethic. Goodness always prevailed. Even today, despite criticism from feminists and parents who think the tales are a little too grim, children are enthralled by the plight of Little Red Riding Hood, Cinderella, Rapunzel, Snow White, and dozens of other fairy princesses and damsels in distress. One day a wicked king took over their part of Germany, and the brothers Grimm were ordered to sign an oath of allegiance to him. When they refused, the penniless Grimms were cast out of ftheir jobs. Then the kind king of Prussia invited the brothers to Berlin, gave them jobs at the university there, and they lived happily ever after. The End. (14,801 each)

#955 Amina: Nigerian warrior-queen
In one of the most male-dominated regions of a male-dominated world, men quaked at the mere mention of her name. Amina ruled the city of Zaria in West Africa and expanded it into the most powerful state of the Hausa people. Distant towns paid tribute to her; one sent forty eunuchs and ten thousand kola beans. But Amina didn’t just sit around sipping an early version of Coke and chatting with a bunch of neutered attendants. Though she refused all suitors, legend has it that she took a different lover every night. A variation states that she had sex with a man in every city she subjugated – and then had him beheaded the next morning. After she died, her people sang this hymn to her memory: “Amina, daughter of Mikatau, a woman as capable as a man.” (1,892)

Anything else?
I can’t really think of anything.

Personal thoughts:
Being a bit of a trivia and history buff, I was thrilled to see this book on the discount table at Barnes and Noble. Among this list of influential people are familiar faces such as George Washington and Isaac Newton, but there are also people you know existed but never knew their names (the inventor of the toilet, the stethescope, and the novel). While reading this book, you can get a very broad glimpse of the past 1,000 years in a very broad range of subjects and interests. I was surprised to learn the real reasons for the use of the words shrapnel and “the real mccoy;” as well as how you’re actually supposed to pronounce Dr. Seuss’s last name – “voice” not “juice.”

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