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The Greatest Stories Never Told: 100 Tales from History to Astonish, Bewilder, and Stupefy Hardcover – March 18, 2003

132 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

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 the author of the popular Greatest Stories Never Told book series, and an award-winning documentary filmmaker whose work has been seen on The History Channel, A&E, and National Geographic Channel. He is also an accomplished speaker who inspires and entertains audiences around the country. He lives with his wife in Lexington, Massachusetts.

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Product Details

  • Series: The Greatest Stories Never Told
  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: HarperResource; 1st edition (March 18, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060014016
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060014018
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 0.8 x 7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (132 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #29,758 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Rick Beyer is an award winning documentary filmmaker, best-selling author, and long-time history enthusiast. He is the co-author (with Liz Sayles) of the forthcoming book The Ghost Army of World War II: How One Top-Secret Unit Deceived the Enemy with Inflatable Tanks, Sound Effects, and Other Audacious Fakery. It will be published by Princeton Architectural Press in April, 2014.

The book details the story of a top-seccret group of World War II GIs who staged a traveling road show of deception on the battlefields of Europe. Many were artists destined for illustrious post-war art careers, including fashion designer Bill Blass and painter Ellsworth Kelly. The book contains hundreds of paintings, sketches, photographs, maps, and anecdotes from more than 25 veterans of this extraordinary unit.

Beyer has spent nearly a decade researching this story. His award-winning documentary film about the unit, The Ghost Army, premiered on PBS in 2013. The San Francisco Chronicle called the film "mezmerizing," while TV Guide referred to it as "entrancing."

Beyer has also produced documentary films for The History Channel, A&E, National Geographic, the Smithsonian and others. He is the author of the popular Greatest Stories Never Told series of history books published by Harper Collins, and described by the Chicago Tribune as "an old fashioned sweetshop full of tasty morsels." He has also worked as a radio reporter, a TV news producer, an ad agency creative director, and a janitor (not in that order).

A graduate of Dartmouth College, Beyer lives in Lexington, Massachusetts, with his wife, Marilyn Rea Beyer.

"I am a lifelong student of history, I have been interested in it as long as I can remember--probably thanks to my dad, who is also a long time history enthusiast. When I was a boy my parents bought me a set of those Time-Lie history books loaded with heroic color illustrations. They captured my imagination and never let go."

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

102 of 104 people found the following review helpful By J. J. Kwashnak VINE VOICE on September 8, 2003
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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95 of 101 people found the following review helpful By C. B. Hurst on April 5, 2003
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is not a coffee-table book, it's a briefcase book, a bathroom book, a bedside book, a stuck-in-traffic book. It's a book for dads and kids, a book for teachers and students, a book for priests and ministers (great sermon material!), and a great gift for practically everyone. My personal favorite involves what Bat Masterson and Wyatt Earp were doing during the 1920s--I won't give away the story but Wyatt was in Hollywood and Bat was in Manhattan! It's clear that the author is not a student of history, he's a lover of history, and the enthusiasm and excitement with which he approaches his subject comes through on every page.
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53 of 55 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 31, 2003
Format: Hardcover
I always hated history in school -- and I hardly ever watch the History Channel -- so I approached this book with great trepidation. I was pleasantly surprised to find myself paging eagerly through the well-written, highly entertaining historical vignettes (each one takes up a mere two pages, perfect for subway reading). Some of them made me laugh out loud; once I had to fight the urge to turn to the stranger next to me and ask if he knew what had killed Atilla the Hun. (I'm not telling.) Although not written for kids particularly, this is also a great book to share with older children . . . especially those who complain that history is dull.
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147 of 174 people found the following review helpful By Brien Louque on February 26, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I'm an avid reader of history, as well as processing a degree in the subject. So imagine my surprise when, after receiving this book from a friend of mine for Christmas, I read the erroneous account of the Children's Crusade of 1212. I had done research on this topic, so I was horrified to read the completely inaccurate account of what occurred. Had the author not read any historical analysis on the subject from the last 50 years? If he had, he would have realized that there were actually two crusades - one consisting of mainly French people led by Stephen of Cloyes who, when told to turn back by King Philip II, did so. That ended that crusade. The other one, led by a shepherd from Germany named Nicholas, led a group across the Alps into Italy. Some left for home while others continued on to Rome. It's interesting to note that in Rome, many received dispensations from their crusading vows because these "children" were either too old or because they were pregnant. Perhaps until relatively recently, people believed in the Children's Crusade because it represented a morality play or because some historians gave too much credit to chronicles (like Chronica Albrici monachi Trium Fontium) which were written long after the crusade supposedly occurred, rather than relying on more contemporary sources. Nor did they realize that the latin word "pueri" used in the chronicles can have several meanings (such as unmarried men rather than children).

In the final analysis, you just can't rely on books like these to really teach you history. The best you can do is read what they tell you and then try to verify it.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By J. Guild on November 17, 2004
Format: Hardcover
This is a fun little book for anyone from 8 to 80,who likes to read history.It is more like the kind of stuff you see in Ripley's Believe it or Not,Strange but True,Interesting Facts,etc.There are 100 stories covered in 200 pages and half of that is pictures.One can skip through this book in an hour or two without difficulty.I guess most people would find it just a light read;but there is a real good reference section for anyone who wants to see the source or basis of any of these stories.
Stories are from all over the map and cover from B.C.to the present time .Some of the things you'll find:

Saint Patrick was an Englishman by birth.

The music for "The Star-Spangled Banner" was from a popular
English drinking song.

Where did the term "boycott"come from?

Did you know a US Warship fired a torpeo at another Warship carrying President Roosevelt, missing it by about 100 yards.

How a dead man duped Hitler.

And that's just for starters!

Oh Yeah, My title was a statement made by Tolstoy;who knew a thing or two about history.Then again,who knows,maybe he didn't say that at all.
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