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One In The Eye For Harold: Why everything you thought you knew about history is wrong Paperback – 11 Oct 2012

4.2 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: The Robson Press (11 Oct. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1849543631
  • ISBN-13: 978-1849543637
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 2.1 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 597,242 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

Phil Mason is the author of Napoleon's Haemorrhoids and What Needled Cleopatra?


Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Phil Mason's book is stuffed full of bite-sized chunks of myth busting, covering the sorts of topics even people not really interested in history are likely to have heard of, such as how Harold didn't actually get shot in the eye with an arrow at Hastings and how there was a very important but forgotten subsequent battle.

The book sets out to be more serious debunking than funny, with little in the way of humour and therefore resting a lot on the credibility of its myth busting attempts. They are generally well-referenced to moderately reputable sources, not always full academic studies but at least nearly all at the level of academics in broadsheet newspapers. Many too read as highly plausible as they are based on recent research finding mistakes in earlier accounts, rather than on complicated conspiracy theories about someone trying to hide the truth.

For example, the evidence about the causes of the Black Death has swung from rats being involved to it being an Ebola-type infectious virus that spread without any involvement from rats. As it is only in the last decade or so that strong evidence for this has been discovered both the original myth and the subsequent busting are credible.

Given the breadth of the subjects covered, it is hard for any one reader to fully judge the accuracy of the book, though I was given a couple of pauses for thoughts by some of the claims made in it. In some cases, the myths that are busted seem not particularly widespread or notable. For example, Mason points out the interesting fact that the seven wonders of the world were all in existence simultaneously for only around 30 years. Interesting yes, but is there a great myth about how there were all in existence at the same time for a long period? If there was, it passed me by.
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Format: Paperback
I made the classic mistake of judging a book by its cover. I was expecting a fairly humorous debunking of popular historical myths but found humour to be in very short supply in Phil Mason's book. The style was dry, mundane, and occasionally a bit snobbish. The author reminded me of the sort of boring old know-it-all fart that everyone avoids at parties. He definitely does not like Americans because everything he wrote about America and American history was downright patronising.

The book covers a wide range of topics some of which read suspiciously like padding. I often began reading a topic only to become bored with it and skipping on to the next one. I probably only read half the book. I tried to read the whole thing but it defeated me. Apparently, Phil Mason has written other similar books. I shall be careful to avoid them.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I would like to think that this little gem would find its way into a school library. Essential rerading for anyone who is interested in history. I found the section about Harold and his death shocking and sad.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A great price and quick delivery.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
great fun and a revelation a
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