I am always alert when people tell me what I should or shouldn't do. An Incomplete Education is subtitled 3,684 Things You Should Have Learned but Probably Didn't. I have to confess I picked the book with half-serious thought in my mind: I DARE YOU.
I also thought it quite possible that after a quick leaf-through I'll laugh or get furious and leave the book unread.
I shouldn't have worried.
If you dismiss the usual cover hype and approach An Incomplete Education like a not-too-passionate trivia lover would, you'll be delighted. I was. As unlikely as it is after such a high-sounding title, An Incomplete Education is a total page turner, all six hundred and then some of them.
At first sight it does look a bit like a textbook, and it is organised like one. Table of contents resembles weekly schedule from high school with chapters titled American Studies, Art History, Economics, Literature etc. Don't run, I'm through with the worst part. Formal structure aside, the book does not take the Education so seriously. Yes, it does want the reader to learn a thing or two, but knowledge is to be acquired through fun, not through torture. It might not be full of groundbreaking discoveries or top quality scholarship, but at least it makes you interested in what you read. Very well done!
Two words of warning, just to be fair.
1. The book was written with the American reader in mind, by American writers. Remember this when you're reading the 'Political Sciences' chapter.
2. Jones and Wilson use the seasoning of their opinion quite freely. It does make the