A Parody Outline of History

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Stewart (1894-1980) was a well known writer, playwright and critic, and a member of the famed Algonquin Round Table. The Round Table met for lunch and drinks (mostly drinks) in New York at the Algonquin Hotel, and was composed of a varied assortment of writers and wits, including Dorothy Parker, Robert Benchley, George Kaufman, Ernest Hemingway, and Groucho Marx, among others. 

Stewart was best known for his work in film script writing, with an Academy Award to his credit for the screenplay for “The Philadelphia Story” in 1940. Among the scads of books he wrote, most with some sort of humorous theme, this one was one of his most popular. It was a take-off on “The Outline of History” by H. G. Wells, a runaway best seller at the time. 

In Stewart’s version, he takes selected events in American history and provides a satiric spin on them, writing each episode in the style of some popular writer of the time, including Eugene O’Neill, Sinclair Lewis, and Scott Fitzgerald. This small book is certainly light reading, but it does manage to raise a smile or two in the process. 

Contents

Introduction: A critical survey of American history, in the manner of William Lyon Phelps -- Cristofer Colombo: A comedy of discovery, in the manner of James Branch Cabell -- Main Street: Plymouth, Mass., in the manner of Sinclair Lewis -- Courtship of Miles Standish, in the manner of F. Scott Fitzgerald -- Spirit of '75: Letters of a Minute Man, in the manner of Ring Lardner -- The Whiskey Rebellion, in the bedtime story manner of Thornton W. Burgess -- How love came to General Grant, in the manner of Harold Bell Wright -- Custer's last stand, in the manner of Edith Wharton -- For the freedom of the world: A drama of the Great War. Act I in the manner of Mary Raymond Shipman Andrews; Act 2 in the manner of Eugene O'Neill.

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