by Cody Cassidy
c.2023, Penguin Books $17.99 224 pages
You are one tough cookie.
You’ve gone through fire and come out like steel; you bend and don’t break. Nobody messes with you, they know you’re resilient, gutsy, creative, and resourceful. You can get through almost anything and live but not, perhaps, without the new book “How to Survive History” by Cody Cassidy.
Some time ago, Cody Cassidy read a report claiming that it would’ve been possible for a healthy adult to have outrun a tyrannosaurus.
Huh. If this didn’t call for more research, then nothing does – and sure enough, the article was right. If you were suddenly transported back in time a few million years and dropped in front of an apex predator like T-rex, you had a pretty good chance of survival. You wouldn’t have been so lucky with every dinosaur, but well, there ya go.
Okay, so let’s say your time machine went a little wonky and you ended up in your snowsuit on the frozen tundra. Would you be able to hunt a mammoth, and what would it take? Hint: better bring your BFF with you. Bring your friend along if you end up on the side of a pyramid in ancient Egypt, too. You can never have enough help dragging bus-size stones up a quarter-mile ascent.
In a big way, you can do a lot to help yourself if you time-travel badly. You wouldn’t go up in a puff of smoke in Pompeii, if you had map-making skills. If you knew where a cave was, you might’ve outlived the dinosaurs in the case of a cataclysmic asteroid. Assuming you were able to take your modern know-how along and you had a good pair of shoes, it wouldn’t be impossible to survive “The Darkest Year of the Dark Ages.”
And if you wondered what would happen if you pull a wagon through a Rocky Mountain passage in the winter, here’s some advice: stick with the women in the group – especially if your group happens to be named after the Donners…
All winter long, you’ve been dreaming of taking a different kind of vacation, so why not travel big this year? Pack your bags carefully, choose your destination wisely, and go back in time with “How to Survive History.”
If you’ve ever read anything about an old-time disaster and idly wondered how you’d have fared, you’re in luck: author Cody Cassidy explains just how truly awful things were back then and why today’s bravado and the scientific knowledge you’ve collected in your lifetime here may or may not have saved your hide there.
If that feels like an argument-starter (or ender), it absolutely is. Cassidy presents the facts of history and science, but he also leaves room for plenty of okay-but-what-ifs and the kind of debates you’d have with your friends over a kitchen table and a cold glass. You’ll learn a thing or two – and you’ll love every second of it.
That makes “How to Survive History” extraordinary fun for smarty-pantses, history buffs, fun-fact lovers and science geeks who’ll surely want s’more.