An entertaining collection of the most audacious and underhanded deceptions in the history of mankind, from sacred relics to financial schemes to fake art, music, and identities.
World history is littered with tall tales and those who have fallen for them. Ian Tattersall, a curator emeritus at the American Museum of Natural History, has teamed up with Peter Névraumont to tell this anti-history of the world, in which Michelangelo fakes a masterpiece; Arctic explorers seek an entrance into a hollow Earth; a Shakespeare tragedy is “rediscovered”; a financial scheme inspires Charles Ponzi; a spirit photographer snaps Abraham Lincoln’s ghost; people can survive ingesting only air and sunshine; Edgar Allen Poe is the forefather of fake news; and the first human was not only British but played cricket.
Told chronologically, HOAX begins with the first documented announcement of the end of the world in 2800 B.C. and winds its way through controversial tales such as the Loch Ness Monster and the Shroud of Turin, past proven fakes such as the Thomas Jefferson’s ancient wine and the Davenport Tablets built by a lost race, and explores bald-faced lies in the worlds of art, science, literature, journalism, and finance.