50 People Who Stuffed Up The World

Alexander Parker & Tim Richman
Non-fiction / popular history
November 2017


Who are the greatest villains, direst leaders and most offensive personalities to have spread their regrettable influence throughout the modern world?

From Amin to Zuckerberg – via Mao and Mengele, OJ and Osama – 50 People Who Stuffed Up The World is filled with the nastiest names from the 20th century and beyond. These are men of infamy (and a handful of women) who have steered our good ship Humanity towards the World-War-fighting, smartphone-tapping age we are mired in today, with their totalitarian visions of global dominance (Hitler, Stalin, Rhodes), ruinous warmongering (Blair, Bush) or tragic egos (Trump, Chávez). But the obvious political despots and historical heavy-hitters are just the half of it; there are also the foreign state cultists (the Kims), the foreign state capturers (the Guptas), the hopeless inventor (Thomas Midgley), the Twitter inventor (Jack Dorsey), the clothes-less emperor of modern art (Charles Saatchi), the father of the A-bomb (Robert Oppenheimer), architects of failed social experiments (Verwoerd & Malan), the less-expected sports villains (Diego Maradona, Nick Bollettieri) and the talentless icons of modern celebrity-dom (Kim Kardashian, Justin Bieber).

The result is a book with both global and South African appeal that is part popular history, part social commentary, and all excellent entertainment.


Alexander Parker and Tim Richman have authored a number of books between them, and written for publications in the UK, South Africa and Australia.


Zapiro is South Africa’s premier political cartoonist; among numerous accolades, he has won the International Publishers Association’s Freedom to Publish Prize.


Exclusives Books recommended read Christmas 2017

Wordsworth Books Christmas Choice 2017

"A fantastic thought-provoking book that renews my appreciation for history. It reminds us how we got here and how we can avoid things getting worse" – Mandla Shongwe, SAFM Lifestyle

"Brilliant. D’you remember Meg Ryan’s orgasm in When Harry Met Sally? No, I didn’t have an orgasm (sadly) reading the book, but I did yell Yes Yes Yes! The research and the writing and the fun that went into this book, sjoe." – SA books legend Gorry Bowes Taylor

"A great read" – Peter Bruce

“Absolutely wonderful” - Phemelo Motene, 702

“A fabulous book and the research is incredible. Do yourself a favour and go check it out.” - Sasha Martinengo, Hot 91.9 FM

"Much to ponder and enjoy, not least of which is the delightful savvy of a tight text that, at times, run with the speed of audience-grabbing bar yarns… Perhaps the biggest plus of the book is that it rekindles the colourful tapestry of the history we lived and live in… A joyful read." – Melvyn Minnaar, Fine Music Radio

"Fantastic!" – Bruce Whitfield, 702

"A hilarious look at the world's most infamous leaders, proving the adage 'All you can do is laugh'." – Wordsworth Books

"I can't imagine how they whittled it down to just 50 people" – Nik Rabinowitz

"A fascinating, terrific read. And a particularly good Christmas present for all your uneducated, stupid, stultified children. Get them to read something about history so they don’t embarrass themselves next time you have your friends around and they want to give an opinion about communism. Tell them to read a goddamned book. It’s called 50 People Who Stuffed Up The World. – Gareth Cliff, CliffCentral

"This is a book to read and chuckle over, and you'll probably have much to think about after putting it down." – Africa Melane, CapeTalk

"A book which is likely to launch a few thousand arguments about who else ought to have been included. The catch-net of authors Alexander Parker & Tim Richman stretches from the Pashas of the Ottoman Empire – to the Guptas involvement in South African state capture – taking in such characters as Osama bin Laden, Adolf Hitler, Cecil Rhodes, Stalin & Lenin, Verwoerd & Malan, and the debut of Donald Trump. All the way, made more ironic by superb cartoons from Zapiro. I found much of the book usefully informative: I now know much more about such unpleasant people as Pol Pot and Bernie Madoff and Mao Zedong. And I applaud the inclusion of the nameless lady who assures us 'Your call is so important to us that we’ve been ignoring you for seventeen minutes at your expense.'" – Jay Heale, Fine Music Radio Christmas 2017 recommendation

"Interesting stuff – go read it!" – Nigel Pierce, Good Hope FM

"You might not agree with all Parker and Richman's conclusions, but this book provides a great deal to think about… I was hooked" – Vivien Horler, Weekend Argus

Buy the book

Buy the book