Synopses & Reviews
From Santa Claus to Buffy the Vampire Slayer, from Uncle Sam to Uncle Tom, here is a compelling, eye-opening, and endlessly entertaining compendium of fictional trendsetters and world-shakers who have helped shape our culture and our lives. The 101 Most Influential People Who Never Lived
offers fascinating histories of our most beloved, hated, feared, and revered invented icons and the indelible marks they made on civilization, including:
# 28: Rosie the Riveter, the buff, blue-collar factory worker who helped jump-start the Women's Liberation movement
# 7: Siegfried, the legendary warrior-hero of Teutonic nationalism responsible for propelling Germany into two world wars
# 80: Icarus, the headstrong high-flyer who inspired the Wright brothers and humankind's dreams of defying gravity...while demonstrating the pressing need for flight insurance
# 58: Saint Valentine, the hapless, de-canonized loser who lost his heart and head at about the same time
# 43: BarbiE, the bodacious plastic babe who became a role model for millions of little girls, setting an impossible standard for beauty and style
"In the opening pages of this entertaining compendium of influential characters, myths and legends, the authors ponder whether the Wright brothers would have built the first airplane without the legendary example of Icarus and Daedalus. Perhaps, the authors muse, the Wright brothers would have built something else altogether. Authors and friends Karlan, a computer programmer, Lazar, a former faculty member at the Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons, and Jeremy Salter, an analytical chemist, followed two criteria to determine their admittedly subjective list-'the number of people affected and the depth of impact.' Darth Vader, Charlie Brown and Mr. Whipple did not make the list ('popular' does not always translate as 'influential,' explain the authors). However, Dr. Frankenstein's monster, Uncle Tom, G.I. Joe and HAL 9000 did, largely due to their impact on popular culture and how we define ourselves. Of particular note are the book's 'Did You Know' boxes, which offer figures and trivia." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
A fun and thoughtful exploration is offered of imaginary people who have affected our lives and culture, from Jim Crow and Sherlock Holmes to James Bond and Archie Bunker to Mickey Mouse and Santa Claus.
About the Author
Allan Lazar is a graduate of Jefferson Medical College of Philadelphia and did post graduate work at the University of Chicago where he was also a member of the faculty. He has also served on the faculty of Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons as well as Fairleigh Dickinson University Dental School.