A celebration of the brave, drunken pioneers who built our civilization one seemingly bad decision at a time, A Brief History of Vice explores a side of the past that mainstream history books prefer to hide. History has never been more fun—or more intoxicating.
Guns, germs, and steel might have transformed us from hunter-gatherers into modern man, but booze, sex, trash talk, and tripping built our civilization. Cracked editor Robert Evans brings his signature dogged research and lively insight to uncover the many and magnificent ways vice has influenced history, from the prostitute-turned-empress who scored a major victory for women’s rights to the beer that helped create—and destroy—South America's first empire. And Evans goes deeper than simply writing about ancient debauchery; he recreates some of history's most enjoyable (and most painful) vices and includes guides so you can follow along at home.
You’ll learn how to:
• Trip like a Greek philosopher.
• Rave like your Stone Age ancestors.
• Get drunk like a Sumerian.
• Smoke a nose pipe like a pre–Columbian Native American.
“Mixing science, humor, and grossly irresponsible self-experimentation, Evans paints a vivid picture of how bad habits built the world we know and love.”—David Wong, author of John Dies at the End
In this multifaceted study of human vice, Evans, an editorial manager of irreverent trivia website Cracked, tests some seemingly bizarre theories about the relationships between behaviors often considered vices and the development of human societies to see whether they hold water. Surprisingly, many do. The premise sounds like a thin excuse to engage in boneheaded, slapstick behavior (and ingest some illegal substances), but Evans interviews experts and digs through reams of research to validate his theories and show readers that humans have been engaging in all sorts of weird, wild activities to let loose for millennia. For example, in order to see whether Stonehenge might have been the world's first disco, he stages a music performance at a replicated Stonehenge; the acoustics turn out to be amazing. He drinks a horrific-sounding, yet functional, concoction of his own urine, garlic, and wild tobacco to replicate the Mayan cure for constipation. And to sustain himself during a marathon, Evans whips up a Neolithic energy snack that combines ghee, coffee beans, and coffee cherries and turns out to be useful and delicious. Evans's goal is to investigate and illuminate the human tradition of merriment and debauchery, which he does with tact, humor, and insight.