Most of Donald Knuth's works are known only to a few computer scientists. But everyone who has programmed a computer even once has made use of his outstanding classic, to this day the very best tutorial and textbook on the only programming language to survive from those very early days---a language still in widespread use.
There were evidently a large number of books by various authors that made reference to the popular ignorance of the time: Complete Idiot's guides, books "For Dummies", and the like. This celebration of stupidity seems to have coincided with the Era of Unbelievably Foolish Decisions, during which a single party is thought to have dominated North American politics.
Historians are divided on whether the endorsing figure on the cover was an advertising fiction or a real person, some well-known Big Dummy of ancient times. Some have tried to connect the name with Gates, a small city which may once have been the capital of Misoft.
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