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The Untold Story of Champ: A Social History of America's Loch Ness Monster Paperback – 1 Dec 2012

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About the Author

Robert E. Bartholomew is a native New Yorker who teaches history at Botany College in Auckland, New Zealand. His many books include The Martians Have Landed! A History of Media-Driven Panics and Hoaxes (with Benjamin Radford) and Outbreak! The Encyclopedia of Extraordinary Social Behavior (with Hilary Evans).

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 13 reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Revealing Information About Champ 21 Dec. 2012
By Gingerbreadforest - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
In this book you will find eyewitness sightings, fabricated monsters, famous photos, monster hunters, waterhorses, hoaxes, rival cryptozoologists, bounties, unscrupulous reporters and true believers. The author writes with genuine interest and affection about his subject - Champ, the Lake Champlain Monster.

This book does a great job of presenting historical sightings and records without sounding too dry or academic, it is a very interesting read. I found the overall tone of the book to be curious, enthusiastic and open minded without any of the harsh, condescending tone that sometimes comes through in (lake monster) books written by skeptics.

The author is not afraid to set the record straight about falsehoods that have been repeated enough through the years to now be accepted as truth. The author is also quite generous when examining the claims of some of the self proclaimed Champ experts and characterizes them as "well intentioned". At the same time, the author investigates any inconsistencies in stories or reports and does not accept claims at face value. He gives the reader an interesting look at some of the high profile characters in the world of Champ and some of their motivations.

I read every lake monster / sea serpent book I can find, and this book is now one of my favorites. Anyone interested in lake monsters or how a local legend can grow to take on a life of its own will appreciate this clever and well researched book.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Bartholomew does not disappoint in his quest for Champ 17 Dec. 2012
By Brad Steiger - Published on
Format: Paperback
As a Scandinavian-American boy, I was introduced to monsters--from Grendal to a hearty assortment of trolls--at an early age. As an author of the strange and unknown, I have written a dozen books which feature a wide assortment of monsters. While monsters of the land have lured me across North America--and once with buddies who were former marine corps and special forces veterans--I thought we had tracked a Big Foot to its family lair, the mysterious creatures of the seas and lakes have held a special kind of eerie fascination for me. I have interviewed a number of individuals--many with impressive scientific credentials--who have sought and believed that they had found solid proof that Champ, America's Loch Ness Monster, exists. Personally, I have harbored an inner-knowing that a number of prehistoric monsters, mostly likely Zeuglodons or long-necked plesiosaurs, have survived in the deepest reaches of our oceans and made their way to the larger of inland lakes. Scientists declare that we have not yet identified more than small percentage of the creatures of the seas--and after all, coelacanths, thought to have been extinct for over 60 million years, have been caught in nets and ended up in fish markets.

When my good friend and colleague Paul Bartholomew told me that his brother Robert, whom I knew from earlier works of meticulous scholarship, was writing a book on Champ, I felt confident that he would deliver clear and undeniable proof the creature's existence. Well, maybe not quite, but what Robert does provide is a scientific detective story of the highest quality.

Bartholomew begins his compelling narrative in 1609 when Samuel de Champlain first saw the lake that bears his name, but, according to Bartholomew, the great explorer did not sight the monster as legend would have it. That bit of Champ lore probably did not exist until the 1920's, though dozens of authors of newspaper and magazine articles--including myself--have dutifully reported this meeting of explorer and lake monster as history, not legend. Bartholomew continues depicting, discussing, and analyzing literally hundreds of Champ sightings and photographs from colonial times to the present day. His analysis is highly detailed, but never stoops to debunking or ridicule. Bartholomew is reporting the facts, only the facts, and he invites the reader to join him on an examination of the many reports that offer convincing proof that hundreds of witnesses have certainly seen something in those waters of Lake Champlain. Bartholomew does offer alternative monsters to explain the sightings. For example, the sturgeon does grow to a formidable size--especially the ocean variety that occasionally make their way into the lake.

This is a book that doesn't disappoint whether the reader is a skeptic, a true believer, or an open-minded explorer of the world's wonders and mysteries. I highly recommend this book. Brad Steiger, Real Monsters, Gruesome Critters, and Beasts from the Darkside.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Best book ever on Champ or ANY lake monster, period. 25 Jan. 2013
By Stephen R. Bissette - Published on
Format: Paperback
Sad to see these reviews descend into Facebook-like flamewars over a nonsensical claim; this has nothing to do with a single non-sequitur sentence (that someone here found inordinately offensive) being any reason to damn or dis this book, and even less to do with honestly reviewing a book.

THE UNTOLD STORY OF CHAMP is, hands down, THE BEST single book on ANY American lake monster, ever, period. I've been reading and collecting crytozoology texts since age five (I'm now 57), and I've even illustrated a couple. I've tracked down every Champ-related book, many magazine articles, and books on Ogopogo and other lake monsters, I've devoured and revisited them all--this is without a doubt THE book to read and own.

A delightful, entertaining read that has done its homework, this is a top-notch study, filled with new-to-me vintage sighting reports, in-depth analysis of contemporary developments and cryptozoologist "feuds," and bracingly skeptical in tenor and tone without being cynical or dismissive. It's highly unlikely we'll see a better book on the phenomenon in our lifetimes, and if we do, it's in part because this book was published and expanded the foundation of future scholarship on Champ and lake monsters. Highest possible recommendation; again, ignore the non-controversy. This is an essential tome!
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
This is the CHAMP 28 Jan. 2013
By Quill Penn - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Robert Bartholomew has written the book Champ scholars and fans have been waiting for. CHAMP: A SOCIAL HISTORY OF AMERICA'S LOCH NESS MONSTER is the definitive work on this centuries old water phenomenon. CHAMP is thoroughly researched, with more historic cases than any similar book. The author analyses the sightings with scientific insight, and he does what no other book has done: he profiles the Champ reporters and researchers themselves. Dr. Bartholomew's book will not please everyone, especially some of the Champ Chasers. But he calls them as he sees them, and his perceptions are better than most. Having written about Champ myself (see my VERMONT MONSTER GUIDE), I realize that Champ (The Lake Champlain Monster) is a puzzle within a puzzle within a puzzle. This book peels away many layers of they mystery without destroying it altogether. A terrific, entertainingly written, scientifically alert book that will not be equaled for a long time. Highly recommended.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
The Author Of Champ is no Chump 4 Jan. 2013
By Karl - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Robert Bartholomew does an outstanding job of thoroughly researching the subject of the Lake Champlain monster, separating fact from fiction, all with a comprehensive list of sources that support his research. He begins with a history of pre-20th century sightings, making it clear that Samuel De Champlain never claimed to have seen a monster in the lake named after him, despite all the books and pamphlets that state otherwise. The author tosses in the occasional comment while relating the sightings, but mostly allows the readers to make of them what they will.

Bartholomew then moves into the 20th century, continuing to relate sightings, while throwing in personal observations dealing with some sociological aspects of sighting frequency. All of which I found to be sound, logical observations.

A large portion of the book is devoted to the photograph and testimony of Sandra Mansi. Bartholomew all but beats them to a pulp with a critical curmudgeon, exposing contradictions, inconsistencies and illogical assumptions, but eases up in the end, leaving the readers to arrive at their own conclusions.

At no time does Bartholomew dispel the mystery of the lake. To the contrary, he promotes the mystery, but with both feet soundly on the ground.

I was highly impressed with this book. If Bartholomew ever writes a book about Bigfoot the way he wrote this book, I'll be the first in line to get it.
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