Excessive Subtitles: How the Current Trend of Overblown Subtitles Distorts the Truth But Could Lead to World Peace

Bloated subtitles that over-promise and aggrandize the subject can get a bit annoying

I appreciate that nonfiction publishers need to get more people out there buying books. But using bloated subtitles that over-promise and aggrandize the subject can get a bit annoying. Here are some recent examples:

ghandi-churchill subtitlesGandhi & Churchill: The Epic Rivalry That Destroyed an Empire and Forged Our Age (by Arthur Herman)

The Swerve: How the World Became Modern (by Stephen Greenblatt)

Railroaded: The Transcontinentals and The Making of Modern America (by Richard White)

The Island at the Center of the World: The Epic Story of Dutch Manhattan & The Forgotten Colony That Shaped America (by Russell Shorto)

The River of Doubt: Theodore Roosevelt’s Darkest Journey (by Candice Millard)

Destiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Mayhem and the Murder of a President (by Candice Millard)

Frankly, for a change I’d appreciate the publishing industry using subtitles that under promise and deflate the subject. Here are some titles I’d like to see, with their charmingly unassuming subtitles:

Gandhi & Churchill: The Epic Clothing Rivalry That Destroyed the Bowler Industry and Forged New Beginnings for the Sandal Trade

Xanthippe & Yosadhara: How If Socrates’ Wife Attended School with The Buddha’s Wife, They Would Have Sat Near Each Other In the Back of the Room

Charles Lindbergh & Lee Harvey Oswald: How Two Men Who Never Met Embarrassed Their Friends, Who Also Never Met

The War of 1812: How, While Battle Raged, Dolly Madison Saved the White House Silver for the Next First Lady

The Bathtub of Doubt: William Howard Taft’s Narrow Escape from a Humiliating Night in Chilly Water

A Man, A Plan, A Canal, Panama: How de Lesseps Failure to Build the Panama Canal Led to U.S.-Supported Revolution in Panama, Which Seemed Merely a Problem of P.R. for T.R., But He Didn’t Get Re-Elected in 1912 So Who Knows?

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