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Tue 5/9, 2023, 7:30pm
Alexandra Petri with Kiana Scott
Historical Fan-Fiction: Spoofing the Past

Have you ever wished you could rewrite history?

Washington Post humor columnist Alexandra Petri did just that. In her new book Alexandra Petri’s U.S. History: Important American Documents (I Made Up), the popular political satirist’s historical humor uses imagined documents to create a laugh-out-loud, irreverent takedown of our nation’s complicated past 500 years.

From the Spanish conquistadors, the Salem witch trials, Paul Revere’s ride, and beyond, Petri reimagines a version of U.S. History replete with well-known characters turned into caricatures. Petri’s revisionist history is one in which John and Abigail Adams try sexting, Nicola Tesla’s friends stage an intervention for the inventor after he falls in love with a pigeon, Ayn Rand rewrites The Little Engine That Could, the characters from Sesame Street invade Normandy, and Mark Twain details how he became a zombie. These are only a handful of the more than 80 creative, ludicrous examples that turn academic textbooks on their heads.

A witty, absurdist satire that spans the last half a millennium, Petri’s “historical fan fiction” shows why she has been lauded for her levity. Alexandra Petri’s U.S. History is ideal for anyone — even a historian — with a sense of humor.

Alexandra Petri is a humorist and columnist for the Washington Post and author of Nothing Is Wrong and Here Is Why, a Thurber Prize finalist. Her satire has also appeared in McSweeney’s and the New Yorker’s Daily Shouts and Murmurs. She lives in Washington, D.C.

Kiana Scott is a strategic communications expert, development leader, and active civic volunteer with more than a decade of experience working at the intersection of politics, policy, and civic engagement. When not volunteering, she leads development and communications for CareerWork$. She holds a Ph.D. in political communication from UW.

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