Audiobook Review: How to Fight Presidents

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Audiobook Review: How to Fight PresidentsHow to Fight Presidents: Defending Yourself Against the Badasses Who Ran This Country by Daniel O'Brien
Narrator: Daniel O'Brien, Richard McGonagle
Length: 6 hrs, 1 min
Published by Random House Audio on March 18, 2014
Genres: History, Humor, Nonfiction
Format: Audiobook
Source: Publisher
AmazonThe Book DepositoryAudible

Make no mistake: Our founding fathers were more bandanas-and-muscles than powdered-wigs-and-tea.

As a prisoner of war, Andrew Jackson walked several miles barefoot across state lines while suffering from smallpox and a serious head wound received when he refused to polish the boots of the soldiers who had taken him captive. He was thirteen years old. A few decades later, he became the first popularly elected president and served the nation, pausing briefly only to beat a would-be assassin with a cane to within an inch of his life. Theodore Roosevelt had asthma, was blind in one eye, survived multiple gunshot wounds, had only one regret (that there were no wars to fight under his presidency), and was the first U.S. president to win the Medal of Honor, which he did after he died.Faced with the choice, George Washington actually preferred the sound of bullets whizzing by his head in battle over the sound of silence.

And now these men—these hallowed leaders of the free world—want to kick your ass.

Plenty of historians can tell you which president had the most effective economic strategies, and which president helped shape our current political parties, but can any of them tell you what to do if you encounter Chester A. Arthur in a bare-knuckled boxing fight? This book will teach you how to be better, stronger, faster, and more deadly than the most powerful (and craziest) men in history. You’re welcome.

To be honest, I had no idea what this book was until it showed up in an audiobook email. However, I, like pretty much every internet-going person have been trapped in the black hole of entertainment and time that is Daniel O’Brien is a contributor, and that fact made me need this audiobook. Humor and history? That’s such a Christina thing. And, okay, I did not end up loving this, but it was fun and I regret nothing.

Okay, so that whole “how to fight presidents” thing? Totally what the book is about. And O’Brien’s not talking about defeating them politically. It’s advice in case you find yourself going head to head with a former president in some sort of death cage match. This premise will either make you giggle, guffaw or snort whenever you think of it, in which case you need this, or it will get old really fast, which was the case for me.

Basically, I enjoyed this, but I would have liked it more without the weird frame of physically fighting the presidents. I mean, it’s not likely to actually happening, barring some sort of necromancy situation. O’Brien does totally follow through on their strengths in combat as well as their weaknesses. I’m sure it will amuse some, but I just did not care, because, as of yet, I have no such battles on my social calendar. Should that occur though, I would probably reread this pre-fight, so there’s that.

What I did enjoy greatly was the history. O’Brien relates a bunch of trivia about the presidents. Basically, he got really into researching them to spite a college professor of his and this book is a vehicle to share the weirdest trivia he learned about each president. He goes from Washington through Reagan, and you learn a bit about how good of a president they were and some trivia about them. This sort of stuff I love.

However, O’Brien also loves dick jokes a whole lot. He really likes to smack you in the face with them. I am not opposed to the occasional dick joke, but O’Brien was really repetitive, with dick jokes and other things. It’s stylistic, but I didn’t think he used repetition particularly effectively. Also, we’re apparently running on the theory that every single American president (except maybe Grant) had enormous genitalia. Okay, then. Are we compensating for something here?

The audiobook performance is really fantastically matched to the book. O’Brien does the introduction himself, and I sort of wish he’d done the whole book, BUT McGonagle is also brilliantly cast. He’s got this voice for historical documentaries, which is a delightful juxtaposition to the silliness of the content.

On the whole, I did enjoy How to Fight Presidents, but I would have been happier with a bit less forced humor and more historical anecdotes. I recommend it very highly to people who never get tired of dick jokes and who also have a fondness for historical factoids.

Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:

George Washington fighting

7 responses to “Audiobook Review: How to Fight Presidents”

  1. Oh God, Cracked. Before I got a bad adware virus while browsing it once (my old computer liked viruses much like my car Antonio likes spiders), I used to read it every single day. The article about the 5 most badass presidents in our nation’s history was a favorite. I’d dramatic-read Teddy Roosevelt’s section to myself because that was pretty damn well-written.

    It’s pretty cool he expanded that article into a book, but at the same time, it probably didn’t need to be one, especially one with an overdose of dick jokes that smack you in the face (I appreciate the mild dick joke in your phrasing like that). One can handle only so many dicks before mass castration starts to look good and totally worth the jail time.

    On the bright side, if any of the presidents between Washington and Reagan are ever reincarnated and decide they want to use that life to conquer the world, we’ll know how to defeat them.

    • Christina Franke says:

      Your computer did indeed seem to love viruses. It’s apparently been crashed by many sites I used regularly. Huh, I missed that article of his, but this is exactly the same thing. Parts are well-written, but, perhaps with the more boring ones, he definitely got repetitive.

      I am glad you appreciated my dick joke.

      True, if that happens, I’ll be consulting this.

  2. Kayla Beck says:

    I’m sold. I’m looking to see if this is available at my library. Thanks for sharing!
    Kayla Beck recently posted…Author Interview: The Ghoul Archipelago by Stephen KozeniewskiMy Profile

  3. Ahahahahaha that GIF, I had a professor who showed us that cartoon for class once.

    Also, I would read the shit out of this book. Actually this is going to be what I spend my audible credit on because it IS an April type of book. THANK YOU FOR REVIEWING HOW TO FIGHT PRESIDENTS.
    April Books & Wine recently posted…Stacking The Shelves (55)My Profile

    • Christina Franke says:

      Oooh, yeah, I definitely think this will be an April book. History nerdery and dirty jokes. 🙂 This also is why you are great.

  4. Lyn Kaye says:

    Choking on dick jokes…..mmm….no.

    I know that the writer is now on a terrorist list for this very book right here.
    Lyn Kaye recently posted…Graphic Novel Review: Sailor Twain by Mark SiegelMy Profile

  5. […] would have known How To Fight Presidents by Daniel O’Brien even existed if I had not read Christina’s review. And the truth is, I don’t even think I would have needed a review to convince me to read the […]

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