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Death by Petticoat: American History Myths Debunked Paperback – June 5, 2012


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Andrews McMeel Publishing; Original edition (June 5, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1449418538
  • ISBN-13: 978-1449418533
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.6 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (54 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #347,840 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Mary Miley Theobald has taught history, works at a historical foundation, writes and blogs about historical myths, and pens historical fiction books. In short, she likes history. She is the author of seven nonfiction books as well as several historical fiction novels.

Online:
historymyths.wordpress.com

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Customer Reviews

I'd like to see more myths exposed.
M. Handlery
It is entertaining and enlightening reading for both the history buff and the casual reader.
Deborah Brower
This book was fun, light, and entertaining to read.
jm4design@aol.com

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By J Pountney on June 12, 2012
Format: Paperback
While a gift should never be punitive, this book is an excellent solution to historical bores who are more interesting in lecturing than listening. Light, amusing, informative and evidence based, this book explains not only how myths came to be, but also why they are in fact incorrect. Any guide working in this area should buy a copy straightaway to avoid embarrassment.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A. McNeil on June 21, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
This history book has assembled the most often-repeated myths of US History and one-by-one debunks them.

Short (only 63 myths). No citations (except for images). A complete disappointment from this history buff's point of view.

The cover is cute though.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Marsha M. on August 29, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
We've all heard from docents in historic houses all sorts of "facts" which then get repeated endlessly. This book shows that many of those stories are incorrect, e.g. a major cause of death for colonial women was from fire because their skirts got into the huge fireplaces while they were cooking meals. Each myth is explained concisely and often with a bit of humor. Quick, easy reading.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Adam Dever on July 30, 2012
Format: Paperback
We've all heard the stories before. Myths and urban legends that range from fanciful to believable, to downright plausible. It's easy to identify the wacky myths; you probably didn't really believe that eating pop rocks and drinking a coke would make you explode but you sure stayed away from such a combo when you were a kid. Many historical myths have survived as if they were fact. Death by Petticoat seeks to set the historical record straight on a number of myths and legends, some you may remember, some you may still use to this day.

There are 63 separate myths addressed in Death by Petticoat, written by Mary Miley Theobald. Each myth is humorously and succinctly tackled by writing that is lighthearted yet very informative.

Most of these myths you'll quickly remember hearing when you were in grade school such as the myth that portrait artists of the day added heads to stock paintings (Myth #43) or hiding hands or limbs in a painting saved money on its production cost (Myth #5). Widely accepted myths such as Grant refusing Lee's sword when Lee offered it at his surrender (Myth #58); the belief that in equestrian themed statues the fate of the rider can be deciphered by the number of legs the horse has raised (Myth #45), are clearly debunked using concise information.

Some of the myths though do have some foundation in truth. It's understood that laws prevented the education of Blacks, free, or enslaved, but the truth lies within specific time frames. There are stretches where educating Blacks was widely practiced and other times when laws did forbid teaching Blacks (Myth #46). Other myths have purely fictions roots such as Myth #22, which clearly states that early American colonists did not burn down buildings for a handful of cheap nails.
Read more ›
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Virginia reader on July 17, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
When I looked at a home in Ivoryton, CT built in 1788, the real estate agent was brimming with myths that are debunked in this book. She told me about the hoards of women who burned to death in kitchen fireplaces identical to the one in that house. As we viewed the rest of the property, she never stopped rambling from myth to myth.
She obviously needs a copy of this book. If she runs across a client who has read it, she's going to look rather foolish.
Other real estate agents who sell historic houses beware: the truth is out there in Death by Petticoat. - Kathleen Mix
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By S.L. Coelho on June 25, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Great little reference book. Some interesting and little known fun facts. A recommended read for the history buff or for researching a period novel.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By BLehner on June 13, 2012
Format: Paperback
Were long skirts and petticoats likely to catch fire thus being a leading cause of death in woman of Colonial America? In Death By Petticoat Mary Riley Theobald sets out to expose historical myths which are apparently still widely believed in today.
Presenting a wild collection of myths - all set in Colonial up to Victorian times on the North American continent - it was interesting to see how some of them are also familiar in European context while others have been completely new to me. While a quick and light read can be like a sweet treat every now and then, unfortunately this compilation lacks when it comes to really explaining where certain myths originate. Each of the myths is presented in a very brief format, often no more than a paragraph - often accompanied by a photo or illustration - consequently lacking details that would have been of interest, and even more so, neglecting thorough explanations in many cases. Even though the content of this book can be seen as history fun facts I would have expected a bit more substance.
I'd also like to add that as fascinating as some of the myths here are, quite a number made me wonder where on Earth the author dug them out as they are utterly ridiculous (on second thought, maybe I'm just too well educated). History buffs beware - this isn't the book for you!
In short: Nice little book for museum shops!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the NetGalley book review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.
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