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The Greatest Stories Never Told: 100 Tales from History to Astonish, Bewilder, and Stupefy Hardcover – Mar 6 2003


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The Greatest Stories Never Told: 100 Tales from History to Astonish, Bewilder, and Stupefy + History's Greatest Lies: The Startling Truths Behind World Events our History Books Got Wrong + An Incomplete Education: 3,684 Things You Should Have Learned but Probably Didn't
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Harper (March 6 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060014016
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060014018
  • Product Dimensions: 17.8 x 2 x 17.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 499 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #11,790 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

“Full of tasty morsels…A delightful book to arm one for the next dull cocktail party.” (Chicago Tribune)

“Surprising…the essentials of fascinating stories are here.” (Dallas Morning News)

“100 stories you haven’t heard will delight in knowing.…Lively, offbeat and surprising in quick-hit snippets.” (Denver Rocky Mountain News)

“History like you’ve never read it before…Amusing.” (The Tennessean)

About the Author

Rick Beyer is executive producer of the Smash Entertainment Group, which has produced numerous documentary projects for The History Channel®. He lives in Lexington, Massachusetts, with his wife and two children.

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Most helpful customer reviews

Format: Hardcover
In the past, I have typically not been one for advocating the idea of revising history as we know it, but this book has caused me to wonder if the lessons from the past that have been taught to so many of us have amounted to a series of partially distorted articles, at best, or a pack of lies, at worst.
In one account, there was a leading nineteenth-century American literary figure who wrote a fictional work on one of the most famous explorers from the late 1400's. It portrayed this particular individual as mainly a visionary who overcame the superstitions of his time in order to make great discoveries. Though this picture might be partly true, a key issue brought forth was entirely fictional. Nevertheless, this particular book became very popular as a required reading for schoolchildren and over time, because of the heroic elements espoused, the tales were so popular that people wanted to believe them to be factual. Since then, this author's version of this explorer's events "would long endure in the national consciousness" and be immortalized as history as it actually happened. Talk about a paradox: to be regarded as someone who would go down in history as someone who overcame myths in such a way that it, itself, is another myth. Sheesh!!
Though many a fact finder might wish that this particular legend could be isolated as the only fairy tale that has been misconstrued for truth, The Greatest Stories Never Told reveals to the reader that this is not so. There are other accounts that show that our significant historical events are not always due to forthright purposes set out by forthcoming, stout individuals. Sometimes random elements come into play à la The Butterfly Effect that can have a significant impact upon the outcome of a war.
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Format: Hardcover
If you are a freak for interesting tidbits about our kaleidoscopic world, this is a book I'd wager you'll read from cover to cover.
From the discovery of tobacco as a medicinal herb, to America's first president (no it may not have been Washington), to the invention of a stethoscope by a modest French doctor who didn't want to put his ear to the bosom of female patients, to the truth about the background of baseball (spoiler: its cricket for dummies, afterall :)), to the death of Attila the Hun which happened in quite a [boring] manner on his wedding night from a nosebleed while he was drunk, to a story of 3 cigars that may have helped the union side in the civil war....etc etc...this compilation is an absolute ripper.
It's chronicled sequentially from 46 BC to 1990 AD, very well researched (Beyer has worked with the Discovery and the History channels if I am not mistaken) and spiffy enough to open up on any page and get engrossed. Not the stuff of heavyweight history, this, but if this were taught in schools History just may have been the most popular period.
A highly recommended gem for your stash.
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By L O'connor on Nov. 25 2003
Format: Hardcover
A very entertaining collection of stories of unusual events and people from history. Arranged chronologicaly, starting with the Romans who stole time, and proceeding through such enthralling tales as the man who didn't discover America because he wanted to get home,and king Edward II' valiant but futile attempt to ban soccer (now I know why he was murdered, it was enraged footer fans). Some cherished myths are briskly disposed of, like the notion that medieval people thought the world was flat, and we learn that the Pilgrim Fathers landed at Plymouth Rock because they'd run out of beer. A few of the stories in this book were known to me already, most weren't. At $12.57, that's only about 12 cents per fascinating fact, cheap at the price I would say. Who would you say was the most unlikely person to have saved the life of Abraham Lincoln's son? If you don't know already you need to buy this book.
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Format: Hardcover
Beyer is an author who is dedicated to making history interesting and fun, which he does so well in this collection of one page stories. I found the book especially interesting because of the background work the author had put into his research (the imprint of the History Channel did not hurt either) which raised these tidbits above the normal trivia, or potential urban legends. Beyer highlights some things that should not be lost in the mists of history, and points out historical facts that may be glossed over in many other history books. There is nothing earth shattering here, but more than a few will make you scratch your head, or share with others in conversation. A great book for dipping your toe in history - each story is about a page of text and is well illustrated. There is just enough to get you the interesting point without boring you. It's a truly fun and fascinating book.
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By Linda Button on March 31 2003
Format: Hardcover
History (with a capital H) is usually presented with the heavy thud of finality. But Mr. Beyer celebrates those moments when history turned on a whim, in this delightful bite-sized book. And so we discover that the Civil War changed its course thanks to three cigars, that the stethoscope was invented by a bashful physician, and that a sex goddess provided the know-how for cell phones.
Those who love history will find new bits to wonder over. And those of us who nodded off in class get to discover that history is, in fact, packed with the wonderful quirks of human nature. Mr. Beyer has collected a broad assortment of stories and tells them with wit and aplomb.
This book makes a great conversation starter. And probably a good gift for dads and graduates.
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