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Mark Juddery

Mark Juddery

Posted: July 20, 2010 06:45 AM

It seems that my latest (and first US-published) book Overrated: The 50 Most Overhyped Things in History is leaving a few people enraged. While this is nice, it really wasn't the plan. It's not meant to be highly opinionated, or "malicious fun" (as one reviewer has kindly described it), but a light yet fact-based guide to the most overrated things in history - things that are so overrated that, years later, we still think they're great. "So," you might ask, "who the hell are you to decide that?" Fair question. I'm an author, journalist and humorist, based in Australia (and occasionally New York), who previously wrote three other books - mostly for Australian readers - and writes a weekly column for The Canberra Times. And I'm getting tired of hype.

Though the 50 "things" are not in order, the book does include a Top 10. But instead of going through that list, here is an alternative Top 11, based on the reaction they've received, and how much I enjoyed including them...

The Great Fire of London
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As far as “great” disasters go (especially those that are still talked about over 340 years later), this was very wimpy. The fire spread remarkably slowly, killed only a handful of people (a measly five people were killed directly by the fire), and seems almost harmless compared to many lesser-known fires. London was swiftly rebuilt (even by modern building standards), and almost all the people who had lost their homes were re-housed within a few years. You call that a disaster?!
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