Boese, the "curator" of www.museumofhoaxes.com, here collects some of the more fascinating hoaxes from medieval times to the dot-com era. After an initial "gullibility test," designed to show how hard it can be to detect actual hoaxes, Boese organizes his entries chronologically, arguing that hoaxing styles and subjects reflect an era's overall mood. Thus, in pre-modern times, the "concept of truth" was treated "allegorically and spiritually," so hoaxes (such as Sir John Mandeville's fantastical beasts) were not as scientifically involved as our modern frauds (Rorvik's 1978 cloning of a man or the 1999 Piltdown Chicken). Happily, Boese minimizes his theorizing, letting readers just have fun browsing through a few centuries of human trickery. While most of these hoaxes are entertaining (England's Mary Toft, who in 1726 "began to give birth to rabbits" or the South Seas fatu-liva bird that laid square eggs "which remarkably resembled dice"), a handful are disturbing (the 1987 Tawana Brawley case, involving an unsubstantiated act of racial hatred) or even deadly (e.g., the case of the Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion, which was used to justify anti-Semitism). While short accounts of a variety of hoaxes won't satisfy aficionados, the general public may find it useful to know how some familiar hoaxes e.g., the Loch Ness monster were unmasked, and Boese's "suggested reading" list will help intrigued readers dig deeper. Photos and illus.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Times may change, and conventional wisdom may evolve and mature, but one thing people never seem to grow out of is the desire to put one over on unsuspecting victims. Boese's Museum of Hoaxes is an amusing catalog of tricks, pranks, publicity stunts, and outright scams that people have played on each other over the years. From fossils that contradicted accepted science, to the woman who gave birth to rabbits (guess how that trick worked), to newspaper reports of life on the moon, Boese describes each trick's appearance, how the perpetrators did it, and its effect on the general public. The book is organized by time period; each chapter begins with an introduction that puts the hoaxes into context, explaining what was believed possible at the time--a helpful inclusion, since many will seem like obvious frauds to modern readers. Whether it is picked for cover-to-cover reading or occasional browsing, readers are sure to find many laughs. Gavin Quinn
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
This book is an interesting read. I tells enough about each hoax so that you enjoy readin about the story, but it does not get "clinical" and boring. Read morePublished on Nov. 23 2003 by Rico
This book was one I just couldn't put down. Boese takes the span of cons, scams and hoaxes across the centuries, giving you tasty tidbits of each century since 1600. Read morePublished on June 12 2003 by JimjamKrotz
This book is more satisfying than just a list of hoaxes. I loved reading about the hows and whys of hoaxing throughout the ages. This is a clever, entertaining read.Published on May 1 2003
THE MUSEUM OF HOAXES is a book based on a website collecting a variety of tall tales, con games, fantastic stories and urban legends. Read morePublished on Feb. 5 2003 by J. Carroll
I enjoyed reading this book, but I found myself wishing that it had more hoaxes and less background information. Read morePublished on Jan. 21 2003 by Trey Summitt
The more of the hundreds of hoaxes herein you know, the better time you'll have with this book. Organized chronologically, it offers a synopsis of the current status of the best... Read morePublished on Nov. 18 2002