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What do the Trojan Horse, Piltdown Man, the Keely Motor Company, and the Cottingley Fairies have in common? They were all famous hoaxes–lies, carefully designed and bolstered with false evidence.
What do the Trojan Horse, Piltdown Man, the Keely Motor Company, and the Cottingley Fairies have in common? They were all famous hoaxes–lies, carefully designed and bolstered with false evidence. The hoaxsters in this book harbored a variety of ambitions: making money, winning World War II, or mocking parents and other authorities. Ideas about what to fake and how to fake it trend with the times. But as P.T. Barnum knew, you can short-circuit critical thinking in any century by telling people what they want to hear. As captured by Gale Eaton’s exuberant sleuthing and nonfiction artistry, the history of scam artists is both entertaining and revealing, a unique and telling lens through which to view human progress.
Includes a glossary of technical terms; sources by chapter; teaching resources as jumping-off points for student research; and endnotes.
The History in 50 series explores history by telling thematically linked stories. Each book includes 50 illustrated narrative accounts of people and events some well-known, others often overlooked–that, together, build a rich connect-the-dots mosaic and challenge conventional assumptions about how history unfolds.
About the Author:
GALE EATON (Wakefield, RI) has spent a lifetime with books for children and young adults, first as a children’s librarian at the Boston Public Library and the Berkshire Athenaeum, and later as a professor of children’s literature at the University of Rhode Island Graduate School of Library and Information Studies. She is the author of three other books including A History of Civilization in 50 Disasters.
About the Editor:
This remarkable new series is introduced by PHILLIP HOOSE, the widely acclaimed author of books, essays, stories, songs, and articles, including the National Book Award and Newbery Honor winning book Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice and the Boston Globe Horn Book Honor winner The Boys Who Challenged Hitler: Knud Pedersen and the Churchill Club. A graduate of Indiana University and the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Sciences, Hoose was for 37 years a staff member of The Nature Conservancy, dedicated to preserving the plants, animals, and natural communities.
“The hoaxes here are colorful by far. Eaton doesn’t sensationalize them; the stories [are] allowed to speak for themselves, and they display great grip. There is a hoax for every mood: cheat, propaganda, assault, cruelty, inventions of merit, a more nuanced appreciation of art, and marvel. We have met the hoaxsters, and they are us: family stories, human progress, and often enough the pinball nature of our history.” (Kirkus)
This addition to the History in 50 series explores hoaxes and the motivations behind them. “There is something artistic about a fine hoax,” Eaton writes. “Like a good novel or a conjurer’s trick, it creates an alternative reality.” Proceeding chronologically, she recounts each ruse in brief entries that also include maps, sidebars, and other supplemental information. In the case of an 18th-century man, William-Henry Ireland, his desire for recognition by his father led him to forge false letters and even a play supposedly written by Shakespeare. In 19th-century New York, the Fox sisters were instrumental in the rise of Spiritualism, even though they revealed that their spiritual communications had been faked. In a broad-ranging and fascinating study of artifice, Eaton raises intriguing questions about human instincts, especially the ones to deceive and believe. (Publishers Weekly)
6.5 x 9.5 Hardcover