Monday, July 9, 2012

History's Greatest Deceptions

The full title of this book by Eric Chaline is History's Greatest Deceptions and the People Who Planned Them.

Surely you have heard of the Ponzi scheme, but do you know the history of Carlo Pietro Giovanni Guglielmo Tebaldo Ponzi himself?

A woman cannot be the leader of the Catholic Church? ...unless she can hide as well as pope Joan did. According to legend, she was exposed when she went into labour public ...riding a horse.

These two cases are among fifty deceptions grouped into religious, military, financial, scientific, and three other categories. The stories are short. More like teasers than full biographies. Nevertheless, you may find something interesting. For example, I learned that long before East Germany became notorious for its strong woman athletes, there was a Polish woman Olympic medalist Stanisława Wałasiewicz who turned out to be a fraud when an autopsy was made on her after being accidentally shot dead in a Cleveland shopping mall.

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