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Hitler's Diaries, Lincoln's Assassins, and Other Famous Frauds

Edward Steers, Jr.. foreword by Joe Nickell

Publication Year: 2013

Did a collector with a knack for making sensational discoveries really find the first document ever printed in America? Did Adolf Hitler actually pen a revealing multivolume set of diaries? Has Jesus of Nazareth's burial cloth survived the ages? Can the shocking true account of Abraham Lincoln's assassination be found in lost pages from his murderer's diary? Napoleon famously observed that "history is a set of lies agreed upon," and Edward Steers Jr. investigates six of the most amazing frauds ever to gain wide acceptance in this engrossing book. Hoax examines the legitimacy of the Shroud of Turin, perhaps the most hotly debated relic in all of Christianity, and the fossils purported to confirm humanity's "missing link," the Piltdown Man. Steers also discusses two remarkable forgeries, the Hitler diaries and the "Oath of a Freeman," and famous conspiracy theories al-leging that Franklin D. Roosevelt had prior knowledge of the planned attack on Pearl Harbor and that the details of Lincoln's assas-sination are recorded in missing pages from John Wilkes Booth's journal. The controversies that Steers presents show that there are two major factors involved in the success of a hoax or forgery -- greed and the desire to believe. Though all of the counterfeits and conspiracies featured in Hoax have been scientifically debunked, some remain fixed in many people's minds as truth. As Steers points out, the success of these frauds highlights a disturbing fact: If true history fails to entertain the public, it is likely to be ignored or forgotten.

Published by: The University Press of Kentucky

Front Cover

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pp. c-ii

Title Page

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pp. iii-iii

Copyright page

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pp. iv-iv


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pp. v-vi


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pp. vii-viii


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pp. ix-x

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pp. xi-xii

This book asks some of history’s grandest questions: Did Mark Hofmann discover sensational documents—from the first example of printing in America to historical Mormon writings—that helped shape American history? Was the bombing of Pearl Harbor a consequence of treason in the Oval Office? And did madman Adolf Hitler actually pen a revealing ...

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Introduction: "Snap, Crackle, and Pop"

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pp. 1-4

Wanting to believe is the first of the two most powerful emotions involved in the success of a hoax or forgery. The second is greed. Greed is a harsh term, but in the end it is an accurate characterization of one of the motivations behind being duped by the forger or taken in by the hoax. Believing (the desire to believe what you hear or see) turns out to be the most ...

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1. Oath of a Freeman

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pp. 5-42

Mark Hofmann was unquestionably the most skilled forger this country has ever seen . . . he perpetrated by far the largest monetary frauds through forgery that this country has ever had. He fooled me—he fooled On October 16, 1985, a neatly dressed man in his mid-thirties clutched the handle on the door of his blue Toyota. As he innocently opened the door a ...

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2. Pearl Harbor

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pp. 43-68

Their forces are moving across the northern Pacific and I can assure you This is monstrous. I think that perhaps I can find a reason to absent my-self from Washington while this crisis develops. What I don’t know can’t December 7, 1941, remains one of the definitive days of the twentieth century. Within the short span of two hours the United States was propelled ...

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3. Hah Hitler!

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pp. 69-116

When I entered the back room in the Swiss bank, and turned the pages of those volumes, my doubts gradually dissolved. I am now satisfied that The atmosphere in the bunker had grown increasingly tense every day since the celebration of the führer’s birthday on April 20. The regular afternoon conferences in the narrow hallway outside his suite reflected the ...

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4. The Shroud of Turin

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pp. 117-150

Then took they the body of Jesus, and wound it in linen clothes with the To believers, the Shroud of Turin is the authentic burial cloth that covered the body of Jesus Christ following his crucifixion prior to his resurrection. To skeptics the shroud is a man-made object created in the fourteenth century by a medieval painter as a religious icon to attract pilgrims and their ...

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5. Skullduggery

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pp. 151-180

On a December day in 2006, Dr. Jorn Hurum, associate professor of pale-ontology at the Natural History Museum at the University of Oslo, walked into a fossil fair in Hamburg, Germany. The fair was among the largest events of its type held annually in Europe. Thousands of people from around Western Europe attended the fair in search of commercially ...

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6. The Missing Pages from John Wilkes Booth's Diary

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pp. 181-210

I have a greater desire and almost a mind to return to Washington and in We have Booth’s diary, and he has recorded a lot in it. . . . It concerns you for we either stick together in this thing or we will all go down the river The epigraph by John Wilkes Booth that appears above can be found in Booth’s little diary or memorandum book, currently on display in the mu-...

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pp. 211-212

This book is drawn from several authors whose works are listed at the end of each chapter. My writing is the synthesis of the research they carried out in producing their fine studies. In particular, I am indebted to John Lukacs, Robert Harris, Miles Russell, Linda Sillitoe, Allen Roberts, Robert Lindsey, Walter McCrone, and Joe Nickell. I am indebted to each of them, and heart-...


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pp. 213-226


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pp. 227-236

E-ISBN-13: 9780813141619
Print-ISBN-13: 9780813141596

Page Count: 242
Publication Year: 2013

OCLC Number: 845252094
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Hoax

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Subject Headings

  • Fraud -- History.
  • Hoaxes -- History.
  • Impostors and imposture -- History.
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