Some of you may not be familiar with Ben Thompson and his Web site, Badass of the Week, but for those of you who are not, the site is exactly as the title indicates. Since 2004, Ben has been featuring all things badass on a weekly basis. Things like Optimus Prime, the BFG 9000, Atilla the Hun, Muhammad Ali, etc. Well, now he he has a book titled Badass: A Relentless Onslaught of the Toughest Warlords, Vikings, Samurai, Pirates, Gunfighters, and Military Commanders to Ever Live. This book contains a slew of historical figures to “ever strap on a pair of chainmail gauntlets and punch a Yeti in the face.” And I am here to admit, the book is pretty badass. After getting it in the mail, simply gazing at the cover had me instantaneously sprout a second, bigger set of balls that immediately devoured the originals. Holding it in my hands for just mere moments was enough to allow me to reach back in time and slap my own ass when I was born. So read on for some more information on the book and a chance to score a free copy of your very own signed by the Amazing Ben Thompson himself. Be warned: I use the term “badass” a lot.
One thing I was happiest about in regards to Badass was that Thompson doesn’t just include popular figures, notable ass-kickers like Genghis Khan, Ramses II, and Vlad the Impaler. Ben also features a slew of face punchers you may not even be aware of. People like Chandragupta Maurya, an Indian warlord who commanded an army of drunken war elephants and employed an elite detachment of highly trained female bodyguards. Or Wolf the Quarrelsome, a mysterious barbarian leader who only appears in history twice — and both times he’s kicking ass.
Badass contains forty such individuals in four sections: Antiquities, The Middle Ages, The Age Of Gunpowder, and The Modern Era. Each contains the bios of ten figures written in Amazing Ben Thompson style. For those of you familiar with his Web site, you already know what this style consists of. For those of you who do not, here is an excerpt on Ramses II:
The rule of Ramses the Great was a golden age in Egyptian history, and his name was passed on for generations, much like that of Julius Caeser in Rome except there’s no such thing as a Ramses salad (but there really should be — it would be romaine lettuce, dates and goat cheese, and when you order it the cashier punches you in the face).
Here is another example from Tomoe Gozen‘s bio:
Saying that the women’s liberation movement hadn’t really caught on in feudal japan would be kind of like saying that having all of your pubic hair removed with salad tongs would be mildly uncomfortable. Though it wasn’t entirely unheard of for women of this era to be trained to use a bladed poleax known as the naginata — the extra long reach of this weapon was a great way to neutralize the overpowering physical strength of an angry-sword-swinging maniac, and often came in handy when rowdy neighbors needed to be slashed between the legs as hard as possible. Think of it as medieval pepper spray. Tomoe Gozen, however, took this sort of estrogen-fueled nut destruction to an entirely different plane of face-stomping — she was one of history’s only female samurai.
So as you can see, it’s kind of like a light history lesson on some of the meanest, bravest, most violent men and women taught by one really cool, really enthusiastic teacher who really loves his subject matter. If that’s not your bag, then that would be my only caveat when recommending this book to anyone. But know that Badass isn’t just descriptions of someone’s badasstitude fused with a bunch of Chuck Norris jokes. Thompson does his research and each figure’s writeup is full of facts and information in between the badassery. Also included are mini-chapters with even more information with titles such as “Badass Pirates,” “Famous Last Stands,” “Badass Mythical Creatures,” and “Things You Can Shoot Out Of A Catapult.”
I would wholeheartedly suggest giving this book to anyone who enjoys this type of material, has a sense of humor, and does not have a stick wedged too far up their ass. This would also make a great Christmas gift for teens. If I had this shit as some type of History 101 supplement, I’d probably taken more of an interest instead of making drool puddles on my desk. I thoroughly enjoyed Badass when reading a few characters a sitting (I found when reading straight through, the constant ass-kicking metaphors got a bit thin) and would suggest it for anyone wanting an entertaining spin on some of history’s known and not so well-known badasses. For me, Badass gets an easy 4 flying knees to the face out of 5.
But that’s not all. Ben Thompson was kind enough to send me a signed copy of Badass to give away to one of our lucky readers. I know the signature to be authentic because when my girlfriend looked at it, she immediately got pregnant with Ben’s kid, who delivered himself, graduated college, and now runs a successful chain of martial arts studios while mapping the ocean floors using a rowboat and a long stick. To enter is very simple. Using our CONTACT FORM, choose BADASS BOOK GIVEAWAY as the subject and include:
-Your Full Name
-Full Shipping Address
-Your Favorite Badass and Why
This can be ANY badass you want — a real person or one from your favorite book or movie (mine would be “Dirty” Harry Callahan). Just keep it under a paragraph and over a sentence. Also, unlike the Trick ‘r Treat Giveaway we did, we will now ridicule you in public if you cannot follow those very, very simple instructions. We will choose and announce a winner next Sunday the 13th.