History as we generally know it is full of half-truths and a mother load of juicy details have been lost, distorted, covered up or simply ignored along the way. AMERICA: FACTS VS. FICTION is on a mission to set the record straight.
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The war waged by America's greatest generation is obscured by myth. Few remember that an American admiral played a pivotal role in showing Japan how to attack Pearl Harbor or that the German army was not the mechanized wonder it's reputed to be.
Myths obscure the real facts about our favorite vices: smoking, drinking and gambling. You won't believe which nation had the first anti-smoking campaign, what those three X's on a jug of moonshine mean, or where our first slot machines appeared.
Myths taint our knowledge of the 4th of July, St. Patrick's Day, and our favorite mini-holiday, the weekend. We should celebrate Independence Day on July 2nd, St. Patrick wasn't Irish, and the idea of a fun weekend is a recent creation.
Much of what we know about the old west is myth, not fact, drawn from movies and TV. Gunfights never started with a quick draw, cowboys weren't all white, and Native Americans feared enemies more menacing than settlers and soldiers
Much of what we know about America's secret societies is myth, not truth. The Freemasons have no evil agenda, the Mafia took root not in New York, but the South, and Harvard's Skull and Bones does not control a sinister shadow government.
Myths eclipse the real facts about NASA's dramatic rescue of three astronauts aboard the crippled Apollo 13 spacecraft; and Hollywood movies have a hit-and-miss track record of depicting the realties of interstellar exploration.
The real facts of the nuclear age are clouded by myth. Manhattan played a major role in the Manhattan Project; there were closer calls to World War III than the Cuban Missile Crisis; and America's nuclear security hinges on a football and a biscuit.
Myths litter the stories of America's most infamous bad guys. Al Capone was a philanthropist as well as a hood; Benedict Arnold was a hero as well as a traitor, Jesse James was no wild west Robin Hood; and we've got Billy the Kid's nickname wrong.
Myths distort the stories of two of America's most renowned rivalries. Before their fateful duel, Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr were law partners; and the conflict between the Hatfields and McCoys didn't end in the backwoods, but a courtroom.
Myths and misconceptions surround four pivotal historic moments: the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962, the Battle of Thermopylae in 480 B.C., the Boston Tea Party in 1773, and the Battle of Waterloo in 1815.
Myths cloud the real facts of America's Civil War. The North's biggest city tried to secede; the Union didn't go to war to end slavery; most deaths weren't caused by battle wounds, and Grant and Lee didn't end the conflict; two other generals did.
America's medical history is infected with myths. George Washington's doctors may have inadvertently killed him; Abraham Lincoln used a toxic remedy that warped his mind; and heroin was once a best-selling cough suppressant.