The eagerly awaited new book from the Emmy-winning, Oscar-hosting, Daily Show-anchoring Jon Stewart—the man behind the megaseller America (The Book).
Where do we come from? Who created us? Why are we here? These questions have puzzled us since the dawn of time, but when it became apparent to Jon Stewart and the writers of The Daily Show that the world was about to end, they embarked on a massive mission to write a book that summed up the human race: What we looked like; what we accomplished; our achievements in society, government, religion, science and culture — all in a tome of approximately 256 pages with lots of color photos, graphs and charts.
After two weeks of hard work, they had their book. EARTH (The Book) is the definitive guide to our species. With their trademark wit, irreverence, and intelligence, Stewart and his team will posthumously answer all of life's most hard-hitting questions, completely unburdened by objectivity, journalistic integrity, or even accuracy.
Also available as an ebook and as an audiobook.
Publishers WeeklyStarred Review.
Eight-time Emmy-winner Stewart (America: The Book) seeks to expand his audience to aliens who might land on earth after the extinction of the human race and be puzzled over the artifacts we've left behind. "Greetings... on behalf of not only ourselves, but the entire Viacom family," he writes in this laugh-out-loud, rollicking social satire. In place of skits there are elaborate, color illustrations accompanied by captions written with his trademark deadpan humor; for instance, a photo of a mother and baby-elephant holds the caption, "advances in contraception and industrialized food production allowed modern couples to have fewer offspring, while leaving the total weight of families constant." Nothing is off-limits here, not even Benjamin Franklin, whose pithy saying "Nothing is certain but death and taxes" Stewart expands upon. The book ends with a plea to the aliens to reconstruct the human race from DNA in the hope that, with guidance from the visitors, "we could overcome the baser aspects of our nature... and give this planet the kind of caretakers it deserves," revealing the tears behind Stewart's clown. Photos.
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E.W.comHas it really been a full six years since Jon Stewart and the writers of The Daily Show released their last book? Well, the delay's understandable. It's a daunting task to cover the history of a 4.5 billion-year-old planet (including the entirety of human existence) in 244 pages.
You'll recognize Earth's faux-textbook design and irreverent tone from America (The Book), and some gags recur nearly unchanged — the terrifyingly nude bodies of the Supreme Court justices are replaced here with the terrifyingly nude body of Larry King. But the subject's bigger, and the high concept higher. Earth is written as a Baedeker for the aliens who will eventually discover our planet after our species has expired, likely by our own hand. All the entries, hitting topics like love (''liking another person very very very very very very much'') and work (''that which we didn't want to do, but had to, if we didn't want to eat dirt''), are written in the past tense. It's the ultimate gallows humor: We had it pretty good, and now we're all dead.
Earth is The Devil's Dictionary for a new generation, twisting our lives in the light and bringing mordant humor to the commonplace. Despite the timelessness of most topics, the writers manage to be pretty lively at times, such as when they refer to the Grand Canyon as ''the biggest rift in Arizona not involving Mexicans.''
Earth isn't meant to be read straight through. It's designed to be perused, so you can discover at your leisure all the fun gags and wordplay crammed into its nooks and crannies. Because there are a lot. Enough, in fact, to make you believe this would actually be a fairly comprehensive guide for extraterrestrial visitors, just so long as they have a sense of humor. A–--(Staskiewicz, Keith)
Library JournalFollowing the 2004 Publishers Weekly Book of the Year America (The Book): A Citizen's Guide to Democracy Inaction—the Hachette Audio version of which won a Grammy Award—Stewart and the writers of his celebrated Daily Show together narrate this satirical overview of humanity written as though it were being explained to aliens of the future who discover Earth after the demise of all human life. Stewart, the primary narrator, explains religion, history, commerce, government, customs, and society in his trademark delivery. Unfortunately, he often swallows his punch lines, thus defeating the efficacy of many of the jokes. Perhaps his brand of humor is better suited to television. Nonetheless, this is a timely and entertaining title sure to do well among Stewart's many fans, who will doubtless laugh along. Recommended. [The Grand Central hc was a No. 1 New York Times and LJ best seller; see the review of the Grand Central hc, also in this issue, p. 122.—Ed.]—J. Sara Paulk, Wythe-Grayson Regional Lib., Independence, VA
A goofy guide to our planet, with literate ironist Stewart (America: The Book, 2004) at the helm.
Continuing in the vein ofAmerica, but with a touch more detail in both words and images, Stewart and hisDaily Showcomrades posit that someday soon the ETs we've been hailing for all these decades will arrive—only to find us gone. And why would we not be here? Well, Stewart relegates the possible answers to an appendix that opens, "At some point between the time this was written and the time you are reading it, we perished." Some of those possibilities include ecological catastrophe, nuclear holocaust, disease, robot rebellion and rapture—the last with a generous 30:1 chance of occurring, and evidenced by an "overall 'Jesus-y' feeling in the air." To gauge by the rest of the book, however, the end may well come by dint of our soufflé-like culture's having finally become too airy and collapsed. So it is thatEarthis studded with images of all those pop-culture and media figures that one would gladly leave the planet to escape, from Bernie Madoff to Nicole Kidman and J-Lo (or, if not J-Lo, a convincing simulacrum). Stewart lampoons with a broad brush rather than the scalpel with which he dissects pomposity and prevarication on his Comedy Central show. Some of his targets include creationists and school boards, fast-food restaurants, obesity, the medical bureaucracy, the Venus of Willendorf and, not connected to the aforementioned Venus, the use of the brassiere as an instrument of social control. George Bush doesn't escape, of course; but then, neither does Florence Henderson.
The legions of readers ofAmerica will know exactly what they're in for—and readers of whatever stripe, save those who are fans of McDonald's and Satan, are likely to enjoy this one.
Janet MaslinLike the "Daily Show" this parody delivers wittily framed absurdities in a sweetly deadpan way…like the show, [it's] best when it takes on subjects of real substance…That's why the funniest material is about religion and science.
—The New York Times