351: Great Government Goofs by Leland H. Gregory

by Gerard


351.0207: Gregory, Leland H. Great Government Goofs: Over 350 Loopy Laws, Hilarious Screwups, and Act-Idents of Congress. New York: Dell, 1997. 259 pp. ISBN 0-440-50786-3.

Dewey Breakdown:

  • 300: Social Sciences
  • 350: Public administration and military science
  • 351: Public administration
  • +0207: Humor

Over the course of American history, thousands of people have been a part of its governance. Given that number of people over that long of a time, and you’re bound to encounter some strange incidents. Add state, county, and local governments and you have a sample size ripe for the picking. Leland H. Gregory’s Great Government Goofs packages a large assortment of these odd governmental occurrences for our quick amusement.

For the record, many of the blurbs recorded are worth a chuckle or two (such as the congressman who got arrested and tried under the bill he helped pass or the jail that was built with the bars so far apart that people could just slip right through). Many times, I found myself sypathizing with the agencies that spent money on odd ideas or projects. Sure the Illinois Department of Conservation spent $180,000 studying owl vomit, but perhaps a key piece of ecological informationm can be found there. What are they eating and how does that impact the surrounding environment? Half the time, the author just likes belittling people or organizations for investigating areas where there is a knowledge vacuum.

On the whole, the book does what it intends to do. It directs the reader’s attention toward local and national governmental and ask them to think about the activities going on there. While there may some outlandish laws and statements made, government is still a place where people ideas come together ostensibly for the common good. Whether that actually happens, it still up for debate. A quirky and quick read.