Thursday, April 10, 2014

4 unexpectedly awesome things about How to Fight Presidents

In case you don't read Cracked.Com articles, bullshit. You do read Cracked and you just aren't aware of it yet because you get single articles forwarded to you by friends and co-worker and immediately forget where they came from or because a Cracked article was the only interesting thing on the Daily Mail site. But in case you don't read Cracked frequently, thoroughly, and possibly obsessively, you might not be aware of exactly how many of the site's authors have published really awesome books. David Wong wrote what is easily the best horror-alien-dick-jokestravaganza ever printed; terrifying beard-haver Robert Brockway wrote a sci-fi novel about drug explosions; and not too long ago the Cracked De-Textbook debuted with the exclusive purpose of shaming the boring and wrong elementary school teachers who misinformed American children. Recently Dan O'Brien published How to Fight Presidents, a book exclusively dedicated to preparing you for time-travel battles with the ludicrously insane people who held America's highest office. How to Fight Presidents is amazing for all of the reasons that you might expect (jokes about Kennedy's need to bone all of the things, jokes about Lyndon Johnson's johnson, discussion about the history of the US in the context of fighting dead presidents, Theodore Roosevelt) but it's also amazing for some completely unexpected reasons which you can either read about below or figure out on your own by buying and reading the book.

#4. Bonus Chapters

I bought this book with the full knowledge that it only covers fights with dead presidents and was prepared to be happy with 39 chapters of hard-hitting fight strategies. Surprise, motherfucker, you just got DOB'd with some badass extras. No spoilers here (except, you know, SPOILER, there are bonus chapters) but these chapters will serve you well if you need to fight alongside some presidents for any reason, or if you happen to encounter an undead elephant.

#3. Winston Rowntree is intimidatingly brilliant

I thought about doing a Rowntree style comic featuring Dan O'Brien fighting a president, but realized that I would only bring shame on my family and my name for a poor imitation of Rowntree's seriously badass comicry. I knew the book was illustrated, I knew that Rowntree had done the illustrations, and I knew he was a wonderful artist; what I didn't know was how intricate and hilariously appropriate each illustration in the book would be.

Everything about these pages is more perfect than anything I have ever done.

#2. Teddy Motherfucking Roosevelt

TR is mentioned in the list of things that I expected to be awesome in How to Fight Presidents, but no one can really expect how awesome anything even briefly touching on Teddy Roosevelt is.

#1. The pure, unbridled joy of the author

On any random page you turn to in this book you'll find evidence that Dan O'Brien is surprised and delighted that somebody let him write a book about punching dead presidents. His style is silly and familiar and charmingly self-deprecating and you can feel it in every chapter. I don't know if he meant to put this much of himself into his book but I really appreciate that as I read through the book I could get a sense of how much O'Brien enjoyed writing it. It's great to read a book where it feels like the author is giddy about his subject; it's incredibly entertaining to get caught up in O'Brien's glee as the talks about the enormous nightmare that was Abraham Lincoln, George Washington's attitude about passing bullets, the weirdness of Grant's man-tackle, the possibility that Regan was Wolverine, or his frothing rage at how incredibly boring Millard Filmore was.

So please read this book - it's fun as hell and just good sense to be protected in case a time traveling president comes storming around the corner at you. (Though if it's Andrew Jackson just run as fast as you can or hope for a good death.)

     - Alli

O'Brien, Daniel. How to Fight Presidents. Crown Books. New York: New York. 2014.

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