This is not your father’s history class — or even mine, for that matter. A sequel to 2009′s BADASS, the new BADASS: ULTIMATE DEATHMATCH is a collection of true stories of truly great, bloody moments in history — the kind our teachers never taught.
As interesting as that sounds, all those good intentions get tossed right out the window, due to author Ben Thompson’s heavy use of slang. While I enjoyed the bulk of the book, there were many points when I wanted to give the writer a punch to the crotch.
BADASS: ULTIMATE DEATHMATCH is set up as very tongue-in-cheek. And, yes, it’s supposed to take the piss out of history, which I’m fine with, even as a person who has a college degree in that field. (I got a great laugh out of the famous duels, namely because the final one deals with Nolan Ryan and Robin Ventura.)
But then terms like “tea bagging” and “shizznit” happen, as do constant references to TV’s FIREFLY, and therein lies the problem for this reviewer.
There are 40 true tales of historical note contained within this collection, and a few of them are well-known because movies were made about the real events, so fans of 300, BRAVEHEART and MY DARLING CLEMENTINE, take note. Thompson makes all of the stories readable instead of textbook-like.
But this approach is also its major downfall. While it’s great to see some left-field references to things like ROCKY V, too many other moments just scream “hipster douche.”
And to whom is this book geared? It seems the ideal audience might be late teens, but for them, history is just that class before lunch. On the whole, BADASS: ULTIMATE DEATHMATCH is well-researched, but for every step forward Thompson makes by dropping interesting tidbits, he takes two steps back. Therefore, I just can’t suggest this book to friends — not even those who read men’s adventure.
If Thompson took out the lingo and didn’t try to be so über-cool, this would have been a better reading experience. For those who still want to check it out, by all means, go for it. Maybe I’m just getting too old for this shit. —Bruce Grossman