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The Great Book of 1980's Trivia by Bill O'Neill

Front cover of a 1980s Trivia Book
The Great Book of 1980's

Like myself, you may believe that you know everything about the 80s. But how much do you really know? Well, let me introduce you to a fantastic book that will teach you and test your knowledge of the great decade. 

The Great Book of 1980's Trivia: Crazy Random Facts & 80's Trivia (Volume 1) by Bill O'Neill is available as a paperback, audio book and Kindle edition, and the printed edition features 198 pages, and the Kindle version has 185 pages. There are 10 chapters (one for each year) and each one starts by covering the major events of that year.

Before we get to the main chapters, there is an introduction, followed by The Reagan Presidency Defines the Eighties, Reagonomics and American Greed, Economic Disparity and Homelessness, Drugs and Aids, The environment, Social Issues, and Culture, and World Politics. 

From the offset, it's clear that this book isn't going to only deal with the fun side of the 1980s by covering pop music, toys, TV shows and movies, as most publications do. This will come later, but it's refreshing that more serious subject matter is covered, even if a lot of it is obviously aimed at an American audience. If you like to read about politics, news, sports and major events that took place during the 1980s, then you won't be disappointed. There is a wealth of information in each chapter. 

Now, I'm not going to list every subject matter covered because I'll be here all day, but to give you an example of what you can expect, I will take a look at some of the subjects covered in chapter one.

It starts with The Rubik's Cube Sensation, followed by The Miracle On Ice which discusses how the U.S. beat all the odds to win against the U.S.S.R. in the ice hockey at the winter olympics at a time of high tension between the two countries in the cold war period, followed aptly by U.S. and U.S.S.R. Nuclear Stockpiles and Tests. There is also info on the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow, in which there was a mass boycott. John Lennon's murder was a huge shock at the time, and this is also featured. On a lighter note, the release of the video game Pac-Man is also discussed, which as we all know became one of the best-known video games of all time. 

The end of every chapter includes 20 Random Facts (which are rather brief) and Test Your Knowledge with 10 Questions.

Now, if you're looking for a book that tests your knowledge of pop culture, TV shows, movies and video games, you're going to be a little disappointed. The book is not devoid of such material, far from it, but while there are facts and questions that cover these, they are not the main focus of this book. Nonetheless it's a nice mix of American culture, politics, sports and major events, and more light-hearted subject matter such as Jane Fonda's workout videos, the hip hop culture and Michael Jackson's Thriller. 

If, like myself, you're from the UK, and you have no interest in American culture and history, then you will more than likely be a little disappointed with this book, as some of the items covered are aimed entirely at an American audience. Take, for instance, the section on The Larry Bird and Magic Johnson Show, and the question, "Which cable channel debuted in 1982?", which I have absolutely no clue about!

However, questions and brief facts about the UK are included, with our seatbelts laws, Margaret Thatcher and the coal miners strikes being a few such examples.

If you want to broaden your horizons and learn about America in the 1980s, then this is an excellent book to start with. Of course, if you are from the U.S., then this publication is most definitely going to make for a very interesting read, and you should be able to relate to the vast majority of the subjects discussed.

The book is clearly written, very nicely laid out and grammatically almost perfect. I say "almost" because I haven't the time to check each and every paragraph. However, what I have read has been perfect.

Overall then, this is a very decent, serious publication that is packed with a wealth of material relating to the 1980s, particularly if you're into major news events, American culture and history, in which case, it's certainly recommended. 

If you're looking to test your knowledge on the UK culture (such as pop charts, films and TV shows), then you need to look elsewhere. A publication I recommend to you is the 1980s Quiz Book: 1000 Questions For The Whole Family - Music, Movies, Travel, TV, Sport, News.


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