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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Coffee Table History Book
I am a big history fan and do quite a lot of reading, so I liked the idea of this little book by Emma Marriott on the history that we get wrong. History of itself is oft times written by the victors and so it is normally, out of political necessity, part propaganda anyway. Being British we often turn defeats into victories (Dunkirk for example). Or we big up the things...
Published on 15 Feb 2012 by Tommy Dooley

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Bad History: Not bad, but rather lightweight
Bad History is a book that attempts to explain the truth behinds those `facts' we have all heard (e.g. Mussolini made the trains run on time). There is a short essay written on each topic. I did enjoy reading this book. If you enjoy QI this will certainly appeal to you. I found some of the essays really interesting (e.g. the one about the level of violence in the Wild...
Published on 18 Oct 2011 by TheLibrarian


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3.0 out of 5 stars Well researched...., 19 Sep 2011
By 
Ms. Felicia Davis-burden (Staines, UK) - See all my reviews
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Emma Marriott has meticulously researched to make this collection informative, but the result is dry, humourless and unmemorable. She seems to have a ceaseless need to pierce huge holes in mainly politically motivated history. The cover gives the impression that the reader might be entertained with a witty rewrite of some major historical events. Unfortunately, we get wit along the lines of Steve Jobs rather than Stephen Fry. I'm sorry to say it, but I lost interest very quickly.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Myths exploded and 'facts' corrected., 20 Oct 2011
By 
A. I. McCulloch "Andrea" (Co Durham) - See all my reviews
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The TV series QI has led the way in demolishing myths in recent years across every subject you can think of. The author has done exceptionally well to uncover further evidence that flies in the face of what we 'know'. A Spanish historian who has evidence that up to four-fifths of the Armada survived the storms that scuppered their Elizabethan invasion plans is one such example.
George III is well known to have been mentally ill due to porphyria. Except that the facts don't quite fit...
Another, perhaps less palatable example is that of the racism of Abraham Lincoln - eyebrows may well be raised. Emma Marriott has really done some splendid research, uncovering what may well be first -class sources somehow missed by others.
Not quite interesting, but very interesting in parts and a great little stocking-filler for history buffs -and QI fans.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars History.......it,s not what it used to be ., 29 Sep 2011
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russell clarke "stipesdoppleganger" (halifax, west yorks) - See all my reviews
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"History is an argument without end " said the Historian Pieter Geyl , and if this book is anything to go by he is spot on. In this book Emma Marriott debunks many of the perceptions of popular history and aims to expose that far from being hard fact , they are "myths and falsehoods that have become entrenched in popular belief and wrongly influenced our understanding of the world "
Written as a series of short ( usually about 4-5 pages ) essays, how interesting this book is to the reader probably depends on how strongly they feel on any given subject , and indeed if their perception was what the author perceived it to be. For instance ,the authors pours scorn on the discernment of Captain Robert Falcon Scott as a iconic British hero .Now as an avid reader of Polar history I had long ago shed that opinion and found nothing new here. However I was genuinely surprised by the chapter on Roman Gladiators and the one about the colonisation of Australia .
This book is short ( around 180 pages ) and the terse chapters means it is a book the reader can dip in and out of easily enough. It is well written , diligently researched but very dry and earnest ,though the odd cartoon lightens the load a little. I would surmise it is worth reading at least once , but is not a book many people will read for more than that singular occasion .
And just to show that history is all around us , there is mention in this book about the Halifax Gibbet , which is in fact (according to this book anyway ) the worlds first guillotine ( dating back to 1286) rather than the famous French decapitating machine named after its supposed inventor. I used to walk past the Halifax Gibbet ( there is still one on the original site ) everyday on my way to work and occasionally have had cause to wish it was still in use today. ( that is a joke by the way.......or is it ? )
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5.0 out of 5 stars I love it, 28 May 2014
By 
J. C. CRONIN (UK.) - See all my reviews
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Very informative.
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3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Ideal gift for the saloon-bar bore..., 18 Sep 2011
By 
T. Burkard (Norwich, England) - See all my reviews
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...but it's hard to see who else will be interested. Anyone under the age of 50 is unlikely to have heard of these historical 'myths' unless they studied history at least to A-level, and if they have, they'll realise that most of them have long since been debunked. So what Emma Marriott has actually done is to recycle--at a very superficial level--revisionist history of the last generation or more.

For instance, who is unaware that Scott met his death in the Antarctic because of his own poor planning? And no one with the most superficial acquaintance with American History believes that Lincoln started the Civil War with the intention of freeing the slaves, or even that he believed in racial equality. He even seriously considered sending slaves back to Africa--a point ignored by Ms Marriott. But then her treatment of all her topics is so superficial that we are left little the wiser. Occasionally, she strays into controversial areas, such as Roosevelt's New Deal. Although I agree with her contention that many if not most New Deal policies prolonged the Depression, the issue is still hotly contested by historians and economists.

A slight work in every sense of the word, and only mildly entertaining. You can finsih it in under two hours even if your lips move when you read.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Superficial history, 23 May 2013
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This review is from: Bad History: How We Got the Past Wrong (Kindle Edition)
This book was a lot less meaty than I was expecting and felt a bit disjointed. Overall I was disappointed. I should have taken more notice of the previous mixed reviews. I'd agree - it's not that good.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing, 9 April 2013
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This review is from: Bad History: How We Got the Past Wrong (Kindle Edition)
Looked forward to reading this book as an objective account of significant historical events but feel that the author has, in many cases, made the facts fit the title, for instance the Bloody Mary, Galileo and Abraham Lincoln chapters. Lincoln, like all great politicians, had to use various methods to achieve political aims, to suggest that he was pro-slavery and the civil war was not connected with it seems like a subjective distortion of the situation.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars It's all a matter of interpretation, 2 April 2013
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This review is from: Bad History: How We Got the Past Wrong (Kindle Edition)
History is a matter of interpretation of facts. The facts have to be ascertained and made readily digestible for the ordinary member of the public. Even current events are often misrepresented. Why were those specific historical moments chosen for the book? Some of the ones chosen were boring.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not very interesting 'bad history', 15 Mar 2013
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This review is from: Bad History: How We Got the Past Wrong (Kindle Edition)
This pretty much picks on the the topics you will have heard of as not being accurate history and sticks them all in one volume without much in the way of insight or wit. Gladiators: thumbs up or down? Yawwwn. A typical kindle cheap book: doesn't cost much, isn't worth much.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars History is Bunk: at Least Mine Is!, 20 Sep 2011
By 
K. Petersen "Ken" (Hemsby,UK) - See all my reviews
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If you know the British television series, QI, then the best description of this book is QI history. The purpose of this book is to debunk all those universal facts of history; e.g. Australia was established as a penal colony, Watt invented the steam engine, Mussolini made the trains run on time.

The writing style is entertaining and one hungrily devours this book and, if you are anything like me, tit bits will stick in the memory and one will, regularly, return to establish the true facts upon some matter where one's knowledge has been stood upon its head. I have only awarded it four stars because, like the aforementioned television programme, some of the history is pretty obvious such as Watt and the steam engine. Most rational people know that Watt was not the only person working upon the idea of steam power - he just happened to create the first practical example.

Despite this little criticism, the book does contain many truths, which I thought that I knew, and which turn out to be erroneous; sadly, Lincoln was not a champion of black rights, Queen Mary was not a ruthless persecutor of English Protestants, to name but two. Reading items, such as this, leads one to question one's perceived knowledge base, and that is no bad thing. A well researched and entertaining book.
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