Skip to content

Emus Can’t Walk Backwards – Guardian review

This is a review by Steven Poole of Emus Can’t Walk Backwards from the UK’s Guardian newspaper (10 November 2007).

A text version follows the image, to assist with screen-readers.

Guardian review of Emus Can't Walk Backwards

Speaking of possibly apocryphal tales, this is a book that hunts them down with a sword of truthiness. The headings themselves can have their own absurdist poetry: Slugs Have Four Noses (true); There Are No Wasps In Thailand (false, but why would anyone make such a claim in the first place?); Dan Brown Writes Upside Down (true, which explains a lot); Francis Bacon Died After Stuffing a Chicken With Snow (true); and If There Was a Bathtub Big Enough to Hold It, Saturn Would Float. This last claim prompts the author to indulge in a virtuoso display of pedantic scientific reasoning, arriving at a resounding refutation of a marvellously pointless idea. Indeed, throughout the book, Anwood assiduously subverts the novelty-book format with his humour and sincere curiosity. When not arguing in pubs, he also runs a website ( which documents pointless key changes in popular songs. This, too, is a contribution to human knowledge.