Unsolved History: Investigating Mysteries of the Past

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What constitutes historical truth is often subject to change. Joe Nickell demonstrates the techniques used in solving some of the world's most perplexing mysteries, such as the authenticity of Abraham Lincoln's celebrated Bixby letter, the 1913 disappearance of writer and journalist Ambrose Bierce, and the apparent real-life model for a mysterious character in a novel by Nathaniel Hawthorne. Nickell also uses newly uncovered evidence to further investigate the identity of the Nazi war criminal known as ""Ivan the Terrible.""

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"A fascinating and unusual collection." -- Lore and Language

"The stories are interesting and the scientific approaches used to investigate them are fascinating." -- Paintsville (KY) Herald

"A riveting collection of historical mysteries that can stand as 'mere' entertainment, or a thought-provoking introduction to an exciting field of study." -- Reading for Pleasure

"Nickell ably exploits tests of evidence, reasoning, forensic science, literary analysis, and historiography, making difficult concepts clear with apt example. [He] deftly promotes the difficult art of discovering reality in mystery." -- Register of the Kentucky Historical Society

"Long before those history detectives hit PBS & Co., there was Joe Nickell." -- Rockland (ME) Courier-Gazette

"Into a relatively few pages not only has Nickell managed to pack the philosophy, strategy, and tactics of scholarly research and scientific investigation, but he also walks the reader, in step-by-step fashion, through nine separate and diverse historical mysteries he has confronted and solved." -- Skeptical Inquirer

"Nickell takes a practical no-nonsense approach to a series of historical mysteries, surveying the evidence and working out whether there is a case to be made for the strange conclusions that people have often reached." -- Year's Work in Critical and Cultural Theory

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780813191379
  • Publisher: University Press of Kentucky
  • Publication date: 6/10/2005
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 192
  • Sales rank: 1,333,149
  • Product dimensions: 0.44 (w) x 6.00 (h) x 9.00 (d)

Table of Contents

1 Introduction : history and the investigative approach 1
2 Ancient riddles : the mystery of the Nazca lines 6
3 Biographical enigmas : Ambrose Bierce is missing 18
4 Hidden identity : unmasking a Nazi monster 34
5 Fakelore : Swift's lost silver mine 51
6 Questioned artifacts : D. Boone riddles 69
7 Suspect documents : Lincoln's Bixby letter 90
8 Lost texts : Cooke's "missing" edition 106
9 Obscured sources : Hawthorne's "veiled lady" 118
10 Scientific challenges : pseudoscience and the shroud 132
11 Afterword : some lessons learned 145
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 1 )
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 31, 2012

    Great read on various historical problems and how they have been

    Great read on various historical problems and how they have been evaluated using physical and other evidence. This ebook version suffers from a recurring scan error, where tl and in "Hitler" and "title" becomes d, so that these become "Hider" and "tide".

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