cover image Americapedia: Taking the Dumb out of Freedom

Americapedia: Taking the Dumb out of Freedom

Jodi Lynn Anderson, Daniel Ehrenhaft, and Andisheh Nouraee. Walker, $16.99 paper

Perhaps taking a cue from Jon Stewart's 2004 civics guide America (and the Daily Show itself), this examination of the state of the union uses edgy humor to discuss pertinent matters in the worlds of politics, international relations, religion, and culture. Bullet points, footnotes, sidebars, and tongue-in-cheek graphics (Jesus has an active Facebook page) lighten heady topics like nuclear proliferation and the Israel-Palestine conflict. Despite the irreverent tone (a "hate chart" compares the KKK and Al-Qaeda; a later subheading reads, "If you liked the bubonic plague, you'll love AIDS"), discussions of such topics as the stem cell debate, global warming, and gerrymandering remind readers of the seriousness behind the issues. And historical and cultural literacy delivered with a subversive twist is better than none at all. Ages 12%E2%80%93up. (July)