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Hoax: Hitler's Diaries, Lincoln's Assassins, and Other Famous Frauds
     

Hoax: Hitler's Diaries, Lincoln's Assassins, and Other Famous Frauds

5.0 4
by Edward Steers Jr., Joe Nickell (Foreword by)
 

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Did a collector with a knack for making sensational discoveries really find the first document ever printed in America? Did Adolf Hitler actually pen a revealing multivolume set of diaries? Has Jesus of Nazareth's burial cloth survived the ages? Can the shocking true account of Abraham Lincoln's assassination be found in lost pages from his murderer's

Overview

Did a collector with a knack for making sensational discoveries really find the first document ever printed in America? Did Adolf Hitler actually pen a revealing multivolume set of diaries? Has Jesus of Nazareth's burial cloth survived the ages? Can the shocking true account of Abraham Lincoln's assassination be found in lost pages from his murderer's diary?

Napoleon famously observed that "history is a set of lies agreed upon," and Edward Steers Jr. investigates six of the most amazing frauds ever to gain wide acceptance in this engrossing book. Hoax examines the legitimacy of the Shroud of Turin, perhaps the most hotly debated relic in all of Christianity, and the fossils purported to confirm humanity's "missing link," the Piltdown Man. Steers also discusses two remarkable forgeries, the Hitler diaries and the "Oath of a Freeman," and famous conspiracy theories alleging that Franklin D. Roosevelt had prior knowledge of the planned attack on Pearl Harbor and that the details of Lincoln's assassination are recorded in missing pages from John Wilkes Booth's journal.

The controversies that Steers presents show that there are two major factors involved in the success of a hoax or forgery — greed and the desire to believe. Though all of the counterfeits and conspiracies featured in Hoax have been scientifically debunked, some remain fixed in many people's minds as truth. As Steers points out, the success of these frauds highlights a disturbing fact: If true history fails to entertain the public, it is likely to be ignored or forgotten.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"By demonstrating the wide variety of historical hoaxes, from forgeries of documents to prehistoric remains, Hoax reinforces that they are a widespread problem for historians as they attempt to separate fact from fiction." — Thomas Turner, editor of the Lincoln Herald

"With his penetrating research skills, Dr. Edward Steers Jr., a seeker of truth, demolishes the most well-known hoaxes, illuminating their complex yet simple nature. A remarkable achievement, this book brings clarity to our world of misinformation that animates American culture. More than a reference, this work serves as a guide, a warning of sorts, revealing how simple it can be to fool the world." — Joseph Garerra, Executive Director, Lehigh Valley Heritage Museum

"The study of archaeological hoaxes and historical frauds is a long and intriguing one, with many books, articles and academic papers having been written over the years, but Edward Steers Jr.'s masterful study of six of the best (and most famous) covers new ground in its breadth and scope. Steers takes the reader on a fascinating journey through the mind and modus operandi of the forger, detailing the many twists and turns of each fabrication, considering why they were considered necessary and what each was attempting to achieve. It is an enthralling exploration of the darker side of academic life and of the psychology of the forger. Truth is indeed stranger than fiction." — Miles Russell

"Steers uses his knowledge of both history and science to explore such topics as whether President Franklin Roosevelt knew the Pearl Harbor attack was coming and the background of the fraudulent Histler diaries of 30 years ago." — West Virginia Messenger

"Steers previously wrote the entertaining and enlightening ' Blood on the Moon, and he brings the same lively yet thoroughly researched syle to this winning volume." — Courier-Journal

"A valuable read for anyone dealing with the problem of fabricated evidence." — New York Military Affairs Symposium Review

Library Journal
Steers (Lincoln Legends) surveys six hoaxes, some better known than others. Reinforcing Napoléon's remark that "history is a set of lies agreed upon," Steers maintains that even when items are proven to be hoaxes, the public sometimes still believes them, a phenomenon most evident here in discussions surrounding the Shroud of Turin, which has been scientifically shown to be of far more recent origin than claimed. Steers examines the forged Hitler diaries, the supposed Plymouth Colony printing of the "Oath of a Freeman," a false telephone transcript suggesting FDR had prior knowledge of the Pearl Harbor attack, the fake "missing link" fossil called Piltdown Man, and the "missing pages" from the diary of John Wilkes Booth. Some of Steers's narratives are more compelling than others. He repeats the basic premise "Tell me what you want to believe and I will tell you what you will believe" several times. Also, his tendency to relate the narrative of these "found" materials before describing the hoax may frustrate some readers. VERDICT There have been other popular books on historical hoaxes, e.g., Michael Farquhar's A Treasury of Deception. Steers's presentation is uneven and does not offer much, if any, new information. However, those interested in history or conspiracy-type stories may want to add this to their collection.—Linda White, Maplewood, MN

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780813141596
Publisher:
University Press of Kentucky
Publication date:
03/21/2013
Pages:
235
Product dimensions:
6.20(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.10(d)

Meet the Author

Edward Steers Jr., a recognized authority on the Lincoln assassination, is the author of several books, including Blood on the Moon: The Assassination of Abraham Lincoln and Lincoln Legends: Myths, Hoaxes, and Confabulations Associated with Our Greatest President.

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Hoax: Hitler's Diaries, Lincoln's Assassins, and Other Famous Frauds 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
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