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456 pages, $28.95
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accountants portrayed in popular culture

death from overwork

accountants' glamorous world

history of accounting
"Sarbanes-Oxley Blues," words and music written by Headwaters Co-Founder & Chairman Dave Maney

evil taxers

U.S. tax history

IRS history

Al Capone, FDR, LBJ, MLK, Watergate

Sex of a Hippopotamus

Tax Court

tax return publicity

famous wealthy people



[Book Cover]

Jay Starkman is proud to release his new book, The Sex of a Hippopotamus: A Unique History of Taxes and Accountancy.

The Wall Street Journal wrote, "this is the only readable book about taxes that this longtime tax reporter has ever come across." Read the review here.

Who says taxes and accounting are dull and
This remarkable book weaves entertaining and educational stories culled from tax accounting since biblical times. It presents the never-before-told story of how American and world history have been profoundly influenced by taxes. Unique, quirky, interlaced with personal accounts, and always enlightening, these amazing tax stories have involved some of our best- known leaders and celebrities.

The many fascinating tax stories that fill this book include tales about

  • Martin Luther King survived a six-day jury trial, avoiding prison for underpaying his income tax by $318.81.
  • President Franklin Roosevelt made two attempts at taxing income over $25,000 at a whopping 100 percent! And he saved a future president from prison for criminal tax fraud.
  • Gandhi introduced nonviolent political struggle in a tax protest.
  • California used racist taxes to exclude Chinese from the Gold Rush.
  • The U.S. once taxed windows, salt, marijuana, and collected $1 million annually from an opium tax.
  • Until 1935, Coca-Cola contained traces of cocaine. A special law allowed untaxed coca leaf imports.
  • Abolish the IRS? Andrew Jackson actually did. But it came back 28 years later.
  • Prior to 1933, U.S. presidents were exempt from income tax.
  • Only one U.S. president has ever visited the IRS building.
  • 89 million income tax returns filed each year should be unnecessary.
  • Peter the Great taxed beards and turned Russia for the first time into a clean-shaven society.
  • One U.S. president found time to write a 300-page book on taxes.
  • What tax situation have Jimmy Carter, Laura Bush, Barack Obama, Hillary and Bill Clinton in common?
  • As a senator, Barack Obama's legislative accomplishments included 15 tax reduction laws enacted in 2006.
  • The South's tithing tax helped supply Sherman in his march to Savannah.
  • Outright taxpayer wins in Tax Court are a dismal eight percent.
  • Just sixty years ago, the IRS was so corrupt that if you didn't offer the agent a bribe, he might have shaken you down for one. The commissioner went to prison.
  • Al Capone and Wesley Snipes had tax problems that made headlines. Lesser-known tax problems faced Andrew Mellon, Alan Jay Lerner, Sergeant York, Joe Louis, Sugar Ray Robinson, Conway Twitty, Willie Nelson, Jack Benny and Groucho Marx.
  • William Jennings Bryan's "Cross of Gold" speech is considered one of the greatest speeches in American history. His impromptu Income Tax Speech was even better.
  • During Prohibition, Congress had its own bootlegger and set him up with space in the Cannon House Office Building from where he made regular deliveries to his House customers. He was known simply as "The Man in the Green Hat."

Copyright © 2008 by Jay Starkman. All rights reserved.
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