History'S Greatest Lies

History'S Greatest Lies : The Startling Truths Behind World Events Our History Books Got Wrong

3.52 (190 ratings by Goodreads)
By (author) 

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The true stories behind historical events give readers a fascinating new look at our past. The revelations shock and amaze by exposing veiled motivations and convenient inaccuracies in well-documented actions by established leaders that often have a continuing effect on the world.

Each of the fifteen chapters points out a myth that is held as a common truth in history and summarizes what we think we know. Then the author shreds the tale to academic ribbons using the latest findings on each subject. Each true story sets the record straight, reveals timeless ulterior motives, introduces important personalities who successfully (and suspiciously) avoided responsibility in common history texts, and notes underlining issues that have continued relevance in the modern age. For instance, did Nero really fiddle as Rome burned? Did Paul Revere actually alert the militia that the British were coming? Did the Catholic Church imprison Galileo because his teachings conflicted with the Bible? Weir takes on all these myths and tells the reader what really happened.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 288 pages
  • 196 x 242 x 22.86mm | 635.03g
  • Gloucester, United States
  • English
  • 1592333362
  • 9781592333363
  • 418,928

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Review quote

Publishers Weekly, February 9, 2009"In historian Weir's newest, he examines and debunks popular historical myths, trimming the proceedings in a textbook-like assemblage of color illustrations and sidebars. Weir cites numerous sources while restoring historical accuracy to popular legends, including Nero's fiddling, the "unconquerable" Afghanistan and Paul Revere's ride. Though largely well-written and meticulously researched, Weir stretches mightily to incorporate some of his investigations; his look at Jesse James in particular rings false, citing an "American Robin Hood" myth that Weir may as well have made up (has anyone ever argued that James wasn't a vicious murderer and thief?). A few more stories like this unfortunately detract from the strong entries; especially illuminating are the passages on Wyatt Earp and John Dillinger. Though there are surprises to be found for history buffs, knowledgeable readers will find enough off-track editorializing and fluff to question some of Weir's more salient and interesting points."
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About William Weir

William Weir is the author of several history books, including Written with Lead, Fatal Victories, A Well Regulated Militia, Soldiers in the Shadows, Turning Points in Military History, Fifty Weapons that Changed Warfare, and Fifty Military Leaders Who Changed the World. He lives in Guilford, Connecticut.
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Rating details

190 ratings
3.52 out of 5 stars
5 18% (35)
4 31% (59)
3 36% (69)
2 13% (25)
1 1% (2)

Our customer reviews

Possibly the worst history book I have ever read. Not only does it describe commonly accepted facts, these include the idea that the great fire of Rome during Nero's reign is commonly accepted as being the fault of Christians, a claim not even believed at the time. It goes on to describe history through the use of half truths and outright lies. In some instances it will begin to describe the reasoning behind something but stop before a full understanding can be achieved and it is woefully under-researched. For each individual "lie" one would expect a reasonable amount of research, the facts of the matter is that in looking at the endnotes, I saw a bare scratching of the surface for each topic. This author went into the writing of the book with the ideas already in his head. He researched the authors that would support him and ignored those that countered him. Useless as a history book is all I can say.show more
by Chris
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