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History Decoded: The 10 Greatest Conspiracies of All Time

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Overview

It's an irresistible combination: Brad Meltzer, a born storyteller, counting down the world's most intriguing unsolved mysteries. And to make this richly illustrated book even richer, each chapter invites the reader along for an interactive experience through the addition of removable facsimile documents—the evidence! It's a treasure trove for conspiracy buffs, a Griffin and Sabine for history lovers.

Adapted from Decoded, Meltzer’s hit show ...

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History Decoded: The 10 Greatest Conspiracies of All Time

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Overview

It's an irresistible combination: Brad Meltzer, a born storyteller, counting down the world's most intriguing unsolved mysteries. And to make this richly illustrated book even richer, each chapter invites the reader along for an interactive experience through the addition of removable facsimile documents—the evidence! It's a treasure trove for conspiracy buffs, a Griffin and Sabine for history lovers.

Adapted from Decoded, Meltzer’s hit show on the HISTORY network, History Decoded explores fascinating, unexplained questions. Is Fort Knox empty? Why was Hitler so intent on capturing the Roman “Spear of Destiny”? What’s the government hiding in Area 51? Where did the Confederacy’s $19 million in gold and silver go at the end of the Civil War? And did Lee Harvey Oswald really act alone? Meltzer sifts through the evidence; weighs competing theories; separates what we know to be true with what’s still—and perhaps forever—unproved or unprovable; and in the end, decodes the mystery, arriving at the most likely solution. Along the way we meet Freemasons, Rosicrucians, Nazi propagandists, and the real DB Cooper.

Bound in at the beginning of each story is a custom-designed envelope—a faux 19th-century leather satchel, a U.S. government classified file—containing facsimiles of relevant evidence: John Wilkes Booth’s alleged unsigned will, a map of the Vatican, Kennedy’s death certificate. The whole is a riveting, interactive adventure through the compelling world of mysteries and conspiracies.

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  • History Decoded
    History Decoded  

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Newcomers and longtime fans of Meltzer’s popular TV show, Decoded (whereon he and a trio of experts investigate the veracity of various myths and legends), will relish this print companion, comprising summaries of 10 of the most intriguing topics pursued on the show, including the fate of John Wilkes Booth, UFOs in Area 51, Leonardo Da Vinci’s apocalyptic predictions, the assassination of J.F.K., and more. Mirroring the series, each chapter begins with Meltzer (The Inner Circle) posing a provocative question (e.g., “What if I told you that Fort Knox is empty?”) before leading readers through his process of interviewing experts and analyzing ancient texts and other ephemera to determine the answer—if there is one. As viewers know, the majority of his inquiries don’t have a definitive conclusion, but half the fun is getting there. Meltzer peppers each section with fascinating asides (an independent panel determined that all the shots that killed Kennedy came from the rear rather than from multiple angles) and trivia (Chuck Yeager broke the sound barrier three months after the Roswell incident, something scientists had previously thought impossible) that is sure to keep readers enthralled and conspiracy theorists encouraged to continue to dig for the truth. (Nov.)
Kirkus Reviews
2013-10-05
From a prolific novelist and legal analyst, a bemused look at the hidden conspiracies threaded throughout American history--the companion volume to the History Channel show. With the assistance of Ferrell (Tougher Times: A Practical Guide for Getting Through Them, 2009, etc.), Meltzer (The Fifth Assassin, 2013, etc.) begins by asserting that, although conspiracy theory can provide a shaky lens for examining our times, "someone must ask the hard questions, especially of our elected officials as well as powerful men who become members of so-called secret societies." He thus advances an expansive acceptance regarding both controversial and obscure footnotes to various historical narratives, coupled with a keen sense of how a belief in conspiracies has become central to our political life. In discussing the role of the Freemasons in building the White House, plans for the Confederacy to rise again via hidden stashes of "rebel gold" or the possibility that D.B. Cooper was a disgruntled airline employee hiding in plain sight, Meltzer alludes to the kind of ramshackle yet potent cabals that animate pop-culture works like The Da Vinci Code or the National Treasure movies. (Yet the author often steps in to reject the wilder claims he encounters--e.g., that the good deeds of the Freemasons conceal "a secret core of leaders who control and guide the organization towards far darker goals.") Regarding presidential assassinations, Meltzer first grabs the reader's attention by asserting that without a DNA investigation, "we'll never know for sure whether John Wilkes Booth died in 1865." He regards the JFK assassination as so complex that he walks readers through 10 separate purported conspiracies within it. The prose is lively and casually amusing, peppered with asides regarding the sheer wackiness of these hidden tales (e.g., in his supposed quest for the Spear of Destiny, Hitler was "looking to steal a page from the super-villain playbook"), making these compact narratives seem breezily accessible but also less intellectually weighty. Slick and engaging but lightweight--a good impulse read for fans of secret histories.
From the Publisher
“Narrator Brick is, as usual, a skillful and entertaining reader. . . . Even skeptical listeners will find themselves becoming conspiracy theorists after listening to this engaging audiobook.”
Publishers Weekly

“Audiobook listeners will recognize the voice of award-winning narrator Scott Brick. His work is some of the strongest in the business, and this performance is no exception. A worthy, light alternative to traditional history.”
Library Journal

BookPage
“A lively and cleverly packaged exploration.”
Bookpage
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780761177456
  • Publisher: Workman Publishing Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 10/22/2013
  • Pages: 160
  • Sales rank: 62,041
  • Product dimensions: 8.25 (w) x 8.38 (h) x 1.19 (d)

Meet the Author

Brad Meltzer

Brad Meltzer is the host of Brad Meltzer’s Decoded on the HISTORY network. He is also the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Inner Circle, The Book of Fate, and eight other bestselling novels including his newest, The Fifth Assassin. He is the author of the nonfiction bestsellers Heroes for My Son and Heroes for My Daughter as well. He and his wife live in Florida.

Biography

Brad Meltzer didn't hope all his life to become a novelist. He came to it by chance, after a job at Games magazine didn't pan out. "I had no idea what to do," he says. "So I did what all of us would do in that situation. I said, 'I'm gonna write a novel.'" After one false start, a book called Fraternity that 24 publishers rejected, Meltzer hit his stride. In 1997, The Tenth Justice (which earned him extra credit as a student at Columbia Law School) was picked up by Morrow and hit The New York Times bestseller list. A year later, he repeated the performance with Dead Even. He's been writing bestselling legal thrillers ever since.

Critics like Meltzer's fast pace and nifty plots (Kirkus called The Tenth Justice "a mean, paranoid fantasy that'll have you turning pages in a frenzy," and USA Today said it "reads fast, rings true, and refreshingly breaks the mold of legal thrillers"), but it's the details that distinguish his novels from most legal fiction. The key, he says, is "Research, research, research," a task that can consume two to six months of his year-long writing schedule.

In addition to his thrillers, Meltzer is a bestselling author of critically acclaimed comic book series like Identity Crisis, Green Arrow, and Justice League. He has also written short stories, television scripts and nonfiction articles, including reviews of The Sopranos, the multiple Emmy Award-winning TV show.

Good To Know

Meltzer played himself as an extra in Woody Allen's Celebrity.

He lives in Florida with his wife, a high-school sweetheart to whom he devotes a lengthy essay on his web site.

With his friend Steve Cohen, Meltzer conceived Jack and Bobby, a critically acclaimed television program about two young brothers (not the Kennedys), one of whom grows up to be President of the United States. Cohen and Meltzer wrote all 22 episodes of the show, which was cancelled after one season. Widely considered a premier example of intelligent, high-quality TV, the series has since become a cult favorite.

Meltzer spoke with former presidents Bill Clinton and George H.W. Bush in order to accrue authentic details for his 2006 novel The Book of Fate, a thriller set in the world of White House politics.

A major plot element in The Book of Lies (2008) is the unsolved murder in 1932 of Mitchell Siegel, whose son Jerry created the iconic comic book hero Superman. Meltzer, himself a rabid comics fan, interviewed the Siegel family to research the murder.

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    1. Hometown:
      Florida
    1. Date of Birth:
      1970
    2. Place of Birth:
      New York, New York
    1. Education:
      B.A., University of Michigan; J.D., Columbia University
    2. Website:

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 15 )
Rating Distribution

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Sort by: Showing all of 15 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 26, 2013

    BEST NONFICTION BOOK

    This is the best nonfiction book that I ever read!!! No lie!! However, I highly suggest NOT reading this book in ebook format. Why? Because there is "evidence" in little envelopes for each chapter! You NEED to get a hard copy of this book to fully enjoy it! I would highly recommend to anyone 6th to 9th grade!

    10 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 27, 2013

    Grrat book

    I love the evidence included. Very well written and not dull.

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 24, 2013

    Good read

    Very interesting,thought provoking and many questions for further investigation.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 13, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    Informative and interesting with a playful twist.   Considering

    Informative and interesting with a playful twist.  

    Considering the book was about conspiracies, I thought it may be one persons thoughts on the subject, but I was pleasantly surprised when the facts were laid out and it included "evidence."  The evidence gave the book a hands-on feel, which was quite enjoyable.  The writing was simple and gave all the tidbits necessary to formulate an opinion without the author specifically telling you what to think.  It was a great read and a great precursor into more specialized books on a subject that tickles one's fancy.  A great book, but not the best nonfiction book I've ever read.  Well worth the time and a quick read, but definitely worth it!

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 27, 2013

    Good book- not boring!!!!

    Good book, never a dull moment in this one. The key to books like this, is to have an active interest in history. I love obscure facts, a stories! If you are a history fan this one will keep the pages turning! Good job Brad!

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 21, 2013

    This book was a waste of time. Mostly obscure BS !

    This book was a waste of time. Mostly obscure BS !

    1 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 22, 2014

    This is fiction, not history. It is simply paranoia run rampant

    This is fiction, not history. It is simply paranoia run rampant

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 16, 2014

    A good review for conspiracy followers

    It seems most of his reviews downgraded the conspiracies to just misunderstandings, but didn't give good explanations why this is fact.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 17, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    Very Good

    I like the unanswered questions behind all these conspiricied.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 28, 2013

    Good book!

    Enjoyed this book. I had already seen these on the Decoded television show though.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 22, 2013

    Great book

    Wow i didnt know any of this

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 22, 2013

    Amazing

    I know brad meltzer and he signed it for me and my brother saying "to max and zack thanks for reading! Brad Meltzer"

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 7, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted November 30, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 20, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

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