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A Treasury of Deception: Liars, Misleaders, Hoodwinkers, and the Extraordinary True Stories of History's Greatest Hoaxes, Fakes and Frauds Paperback – May 31, 2005


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A Treasury of Deception: Liars, Misleaders, Hoodwinkers, and the Extraordinary True Stories of History's Greatest Hoaxes, Fakes and Frauds + A Treasury of Great American Scandals: Tantalizing True Tales of Historic Misbehavior by the Founding Fathers and Others Who Let Freedom Swing + A Treasury of Foolishly Forgotten Americans: Pirates, Skinflints, Patriots, and Other Colorful Characters Stuck in the Footno tes of History
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Michael Farquhar is a writer and editor at the Washington Post specializing in history. He is the author of the bestsellers A Treasury of Great American Scandals and A Treasury of Royal Scandals. He appeared on the History Channel’s Russia, Land of the Tsars and will be featured on a forthcoming program about the French Revolution.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books; 1st edition (May 31, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0143035444
  • ISBN-13: 978-0143035442
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.6 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #789,645 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Michael Farquhar, a former writer and editor at The Washington Post, is the bestselling author of numerous books, including the critically acclaimed Behind the Palace Doors and Secret Lives of the Tsars, as well as the popular Penguin "Treasury" series: A Treasury of Royal Scandals, A Treasury of Great American Scandals, A Treasury of Deception, and A Treasury of Foolishly Forgotten Americans. He lives in Washington, D.C.

Customer Reviews

It would be impossible to be unbiased.
dennis
I highly recommend this book to anyone with even the slightest interest in history or the human capacity to deceive.
Ann
What a fun and entertaining book to read!
Amazon Customer

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

33 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Ricky Hunter on June 14, 2005
Format: Paperback
Michael Farquhar has created another bathroom book for the history-loving set. This one, Treasury of Deception, is just what it's title implies and is broken down into categories and ranges from prison escapes to scientific frauds, from practical jokes to deadly hoaxes, such as the blood libel. It is a truly odd mixed bag and should be read over a long period in many small bites, although that may prove harder to do than anticipated and one may find oneself gobbling the whole thing down at once. The book is light at the right moments and more serious when required and, amazingly enough, never veers into the truly silly, which is a blessing.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Ann on June 5, 2005
Format: Paperback
I read Michael Farquhar's two other books, "A Treasury of Royal Scandals" and "A Treasury of Great American Scandals" and I loved them both. His latest book is even better than the first two. It presents many facets of deception through history in a most entertaining way. Each chapter is a different story of lies and trickery, all separated into ten thematic parts. My favorite was the hoodwinking of Hitler. Just brillant! I highly recommend this book to anyone with even the slightest interest in history or the human capacity to deceive.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Bookworm Mom on July 15, 2005
Format: Paperback
I just finished reading this book and I would have given it five stars had I not read his stories about royal scandals first. It was much more shocking than this one, although this book is worth a read. I only wish it had contained more stories, and a little more of the wit Farquhar exhibited in his other writings.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By proreader on June 8, 2005
Format: Paperback
I never thought I liked history (except historical romance), until I started reading Michael Farquhar. He truly makes history fun, not the dry boring stuff we had to do in school. And since I learn something when I read his books, it's just an added bonus. I too read his first two books, and I think this one is my favorite--I love hearing how historical figures tricked and hookwinked each other over time.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By F. Hussain on June 5, 2008
Format: Paperback
What I liked most about the book was the author's no nonsense style. The problem with many history books is the historian often takes a long winded way to explain facts. Michael gets straight to the point and only narrates details that are neccessary . Each story is only a few minutes long, so if you did not like one, there is another one to look forward to.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By G. Poirier on January 16, 2008
Format: Paperback
In seventy chapters organized into ten parts (themes), plus four appendices, the author does an absolutely superb job of illustrating how deception of various sorts has played (and surely continues to play) such a prominent role in human history. As is standard in this author's books, the writing style is clear, friendly, quite engaging, extremely witty and lots of fun to read. In short, the book is almost impossible to put down. This excellent book can be enjoyed by everyone, especially history buffs. Anyone who finds history a rather boring subject but is fortunate enough to read this book (or any of this author's other "Treasury" series books) is in for a rare treat and the bonus realization that reading history can be great fun.
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13 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Paula L. Craig on February 2, 2006
Format: Paperback
The very first chapter, on the prophecies of Nostradamus, is worth the price of the book. Farquhar points out that Nostradamus built his prophetic reputation by making vague pronouncements so filled with symbolism that they could be interpreted to predict nearly anything. If more people read Farquhar, there'd be a lot fewer people wasting their time with other prophetic works that use the same approach, such as the book of Isaiah and the Revelation of St. John. This is something of a personal issue for me. My own father, an intelligent and talented man who could have done a lot of good in the world, spent years obsessing uselessly over these prophecies.

The rest of the book has plenty more great stories. Admittedly, Farquhar doesn't go into great detail with any of them, but so what? You can always go elsewhere to dig deeper if something interests you.

A few words to the wise. Farquhar makes skepticism fun, but don't forget that skepticism can go too far. Piltdown Man was a fraud, but the theory of evolution is not.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Courtney Rabideau on April 19, 2007
Format: Paperback
This is a very interesting book about different frauds from around the world. Some examples from the book:

1.Nostradamus' predictions

2.Piltdown man

3.various Nazi lies and hoaxes

4.Clifford Irving's whopper of a lie when he said that he was writing a biography about Howard Hughes

5.A lady in the 1600's giving birth to rabbits

6.Various royal hoaxes dealing with pretenders to thrones

7.Boys with plenty of school spirit who got the Lincoln Museum to look purple

8.plenty other stories to keep you amused for hours.
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