Unsolved Mysteries of American History: An Eye-Opening Journey through 500 Years of Discoveries, Disappearances, and Baffling Events / Edition 1

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"A lively tour through our past and an ingenious primer in the art of historical detection." —Robert A. Gross, author of The Minutemen and Their World

Did Leif Ericsson beat Columbus to America? What happened to the Lost Colony of Roanoke? Did Pocahontas really save John Smith? Did Davy Crockett die at the Alamo? What really happened to Amelia Earhart, and was she a spy? Who killed JFK?

Unsolved Mysteries of American History re-creates the most mystifying events of our past, following some of our greatest historians as they search for the elusive answers. Spanning more than five centuries—from Leif Ericsson and Columbus through Watergate and Iran-Contra—Aron makes sense of all the latest discoveries and speculations. Here is everything you could ever want from a detective story: dramatic twists and turns, intellectual challenges, frustrating dead-ends, murderous mayhem, and thrilling espionage.

"Stimulating and pleasurable, fair and objective . . . recommended for both the history buff and the fan of true-life mysteries."—Kirkus Reviews

"Everyone loves a mystery and a history mystery best of all. Aron has assembled an impressive array of 'whodunits.'" —Ivor Noel Hume, former director, Department of Archaeology, Colonial Williamsburg author of The Virginia Adventure

"A welcome gateway for historical exploration." —Booklist

"Aron performs something of a minor miracle: He zeroes in on the very core of historical mysteries and provides new insights for reconsidering mystifying events." —Allan W. Eckert, author of Sorrow in Our Heart

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Aron, a reporter for the Virginia Gazette, presents here his findings on significant "mysteries" of America's past. He briefly examines 30 controversial questions in chronological order, ranging from "When did the first people arrive in America?" to "What did Reagan know about Iran-contra?" Though he does not claim to provide definitive answers, he offers evidence for both sides of every issue. Each chapter ends with a bibliography. Perhaps the most interesting question tackled is "How did Davy Crockett die?"; Aron strongly suggests that Crockett surrendered at the Alamo rather than fighting to his death there. The author's simple, straightforward style is suitable for junior-high level and above. This volume is comparable to Richard Shenkman's Legends, Lies, and Cherished Myths of American History (Morrow, 1988). Recommended for public libraries.Norman Malwitz, Queens Borough P.L., Great Neck, N.Y.
Kirkus Reviews
Thirty famous events of American history that still challenge the skills of historian-detectives.

The intriguing and controversial events explored by Aron (a reporter for the Virginia Gazette and former executive editor at Simon & Schuster) range from the vexed question of who arrived first in North America to the matter of who the first European explorers of America were, and from the equally prickly issue of how much Richard Nixon knew about Watergate to how much Ronald Reagan knew about the Iran-Contra mess. How did Cortés, with some 400 men, conquer the Aztec empire of 200,000 soldiers and 25 million subjects? Did Pocahontas save John Smith? What caused the Salem witch hunt? Why did Benedict Arnold become a traitor? Why did Lee order Pickett's charge against entrenched Union forces? Were Sacco and Vanzetti guilty? Was Amelia Earhart, a friend of the Roosevelts, a spy? Who was most to blame for the disaster at Pearl Harbor? What happened at the Gulf of Tonkin? Who was behind the assassinations of Malcolm X and JFK? The author explores each issue with clarity, incorporating the latest research on each issue and offering a variety of answers. More important, he applies his own considerable logical powers to the questions, and does so in a sufficiently careful manner to allow readers to follow the reasoning and arrive at their own opinions. At the end of each chapter, Aron lists the best publications for those anxious to do further research.

Stimulating and pleasurable, fair and objective analyses, recommended for both the history buff and the fan of true-life mysteries.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780471283683
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 10/28/1998
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 240
  • Product dimensions: 6.12 (w) x 9.22 (h) x 0.64 (d)

Meet the Author

PAUL ARON is an award-winning reporter for the Virginia Gazette. He lives in Williamsburg, Virginia.
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Table of Contents

When Did the First People Arrive in America?

Did Leif Ericsson Discover America?

Why Did the Anasazi Abandon Their Cities?

Where Did Columbus Land?

How Did Cortes Conquer the Aztecs?

What Happened to the Lost Colony of Roanoke?

Did Pocahontas Save John Smith?

What Caused the Salem Witch-Hunt?

Was Daniel Boone a Traitor?

Why Did Benedict Arnold Turn Traitor?

Was Sally Hemings the Mistress of Thomas Jefferson?

Was Meriwether Lewis Murdered?

Was Rachel Jackson a Bigamist?

How Did Davy Crockett Die?

Why Did Lee Order Pickett's Charge?

Who Was to Blame for Wounded Knee?

What Destroyed the Maine?

Were Sacco and Vanzetti Guilty?

Who Kidnapped the Lindbergh Baby?

Did Babe Ruth Call His Shot?

Was Amelia Earhart a Spy?

Who Was to Blame for Pearl Harbor?

Why Did Truman Drop the Bomb?

Were the Rosenbergs Guilty?

Who Killed JFK?

What Happened at the Gulf of Tonkin?

Who Killed Malcolm X?

Who Was to Blame for the Kent State Killings?

What Did Nixon Know About Watergate?

What Did Reagan Know About Iran-Contra?


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