Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Other Sellers on Amazon
+ $3.99 shipping
+ $3.99 shipping
+ $5.44 shipping
The Truth About History: How New Evidence is Transforming the Story of the Past Hardcover – October 7, 2004
All Books, All the Time
Read author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more at the Amazon Book Review. Read it now
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
From Publishers Weekly
Did you know that Cleopatras legendary looks were actually nothing to write home about? Or that the blood-sucking, malaria-bearing mosquito may have abetted the downfall of the once ironclad Roman Empire? The Readers Digest editors cover these topics and much more in this richly illustrated reference. Organized by themes like "crowns and conspiracies" and "fame and reputation," this book navigates the well-traveled, if poorly lit, avenues of our past, focusing on new discoveries that have been illuminated through technology. The editors revisit old questions and raise new ones about some of the worlds most storied events, ranging from the evolution of our species to how the Titanic sunk. DNA tests have determined the gastronomical habits (and by extension, the month of death) of Ötzi the Ice Man, who lived about 5000 years ago, while advances in laser imaging have led to the recent rediscovery of the Greek mathematician Archimedess lost text, The Method of Mechanical Theorems, which was thought to be ruined after a 13th-century monk scratched out the text to make a prayer book. Vivid graphics add zest to the dry facts, but true history buffs may deem much of this old hat. Still, those with a simple and honest thirst for knowledge will not be disappointed. Theres plenty of cocktail party fodder here (Hiram Maxim, not Thomas Edison, invented the light bulb; Napoleon didnt die from stomach cancer but from slow, murderous doses of arsenic), and after reading this book, some may even feel confident enough to give Ken Jennings a run for his Jeopardy money. But as the editors point out, none of this information is set in stone; if theres one lesson that readers will take away from this book, it is that history is both subjective and mutable.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Top customer reviews
For example, did the Hindenburg's hydrogen explode--or was there another reason why the great airship crashed and burned in New Jersey in 1937? (And no, it wasn't sabotage.) What happened 70,000 years ago that nearly wiped out the human species? Did Custer and his men make a "last stand"? Was Marie Antoinette really a cold and callous ruler or did she just suffer from bad press? Was there ever a King Arthur? Does the movie "Braveheart" have anything to do with reality? Did Napoleon die of stomach cancer, or was he murdered--and if so, by whom?
The essays covering subjects that I already knew about seem to be fairly accurate, if a bit short (but this is a Reader's Digest book, after all). Still, this is "history lite," so take it all with a grain of salt and enjoy the ride!
If this sort of book appeals to you, you might also want to take a look at the following: Robert Stewart, "Mysteries of History"; Paul Aron, "Unsolved Mysteries of America History"; "More Unsolved Mysteries of American History"; and "Unsolved Mysteries of History"; Hugh Miller, "Secrets of the Dead" and "More Secrets of the Dead"; David Wason, "Battlefield Detectives"; and Reader's Digest (again) "Great Mysteries of the Past: Experts Unravel Fact and Fallacy Behind the Headlines of History." Despite the somewhat sensational titles, each of these books features fairly balanced discussions of some really interesting questions about history--often with surprising and well-supported conclusions.
Although I knew about many of the topics from recent news articles, it's a pleasant way to keep abreast. I even learned a few things - the name of the venerated Narmer, eponymous king of Egypt, means "King Catfish".
Scholars will cluck at some minor inaccuracies, or the glossing over of controversies, but it's a truly fun bedtime reading book, and does a great job addressing its general reader audience.
For more like this, I would highly recommend "Hidden History" by Brian Haughton (2007) and "Ancient Mysteries" by Peter James and Nick Thorpe (1999). They won't appeal as much to adolescent readers, but they are the meat and potatoes to the ice cream of "Truth About History"
Enjoy the whole meal!
For instance, the section about the evolution of the human species. I was amazed at the number of identified species of hominids and humans that came and went, overlapped with others, some that existed for ages (e.g. homo erectus) and how we became the dominant and now only human species. Approaching the subject from a religious perspective (I am, shall we say, an "old-earth creationist" with an appreciation for the evolutionary process), I have been reflecting on what really constitutes a human being? A soul? The ability to ponder one's existence? The ability to plan ahead? So to what degree was humanity a creation, and to what degree a long-term adaptation? Can it be both?
As this book makes me ask these questions, it is intellectually satisfying as well as entertaining. Not everything beckons existential questions here, but perhaps it will make the reader identify their preconceived notions about history and what they've been taught.