Pranks? What is a ‘prank’ as performed by a ‘prankster’? Pulling ‘one’ over on someone? Author Kembrew McLeod seems to look on it as a practical joke that has political and/or social change connotations.
‘Pranking’ is popular today as we have television shows all about pranks and tv talk show hosts ‘prank’ one another all in good fun. So it was with certain expectations that I started this book – with a title that doesn’t let on too much as to what it might be about. But this seemed to be a little more skewed toward hoaxes and trickery and flim-flam.
There is actually some really interesting history told here in the book and I found much of it quite fascinating, even though it’s not what I was expecting. But even some of this interesting history went on much too long. The chapter on the Illuminati, for instance, just dragged on and on.
That Benjamin Franklin pulled a few pranks is no surprise. To read about some of them was fun. And if the rest of the book were a little more like this, it would have been a delightful read. But sadly it was not.
There are so many little delightful nuggets of information here, but they are surrounded by some dull, and convoluted writing. It’s hard to believe that a book about pranks would be some very dry reading, but it is. If you are a knowledge junkie – someone who just likes to know lots of little bits of information – then this is probably a good book to wade through.
If you want a book of history from a different perspective, this is on the right track, but gets bogged down in needless details.
If you want to know about ‘making mischief in the modern world’ … this book is a mistake.
Looking for a good book? It’s hard to believe that a book about pranks would be dull, but Pranksters, by Kembrew McLeod gets too caught up in the details, and surrounds those details with dry writing, resulting in a difficult read.
I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher, through Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.
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Pranksters: Making Mischief in the Modern World
author: Kembrew McLeod
publisher: New York University Press
hardcover, 355 pages