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A History of Ambition in 50 Hoaxes (History…
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A History of Ambition in 50 Hoaxes (History in 50)

by Gale Eaton

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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0884484920, Paperback)

The earth shakes and cracks open. Volcanoes erupt. Continents freeze, bake, and flood. Droughts parch the land. Wildfires and hundred year storms consume anything in their paths. Invisible clouds of disease and pestilence probe for victims. Tidal waves sweep ashore from the vast sea. The natural world is a dangerous place, but one species has evolved a unique defense against the hazards: civilization.


Civilization rearranges nature for human convenience. Clothes and houses keep us warm; agriculture feeds us; medicine fights our diseases. It all works most of the time. But key resources lie in the most hazardous places, so we choose to live on river flood plains, on the slopes of volcanoes, at the edge of the sea, above seismic faults. We pack ourselves into cities. Petri dishes for germs. Civilization thrives on the edge of disaster.


And what happens when natural forces meet molasses holding tanks, insecticides, deep-water oil rigs, nuclear power plants? We learn the hard way how to avoid the last disaster and maybe how to create the next one. What we don't know can, indeed, hurt us.
This book's white-knuckled journey from antiquity to the present leads us to wonder at times how humankind has survived. And yet, as author Gale Eaton makes clear, civilization has advanced not just in spite of disasters but in part because of them. Hats off to human resilience, ingenuity, and perseverance! They've carried us this far; may they continue to do so into our ever-hazardous future.

What do the Trojan Horse, Piltdown Man, the Keely Motor Company, and the Cottingley Fairies have in common? They were all famous hoaxes--lies, carefully designed and bolstered with false evidence. The hoaxsters in this book harbored a variety of ambitions: making money, winning World War II, or mocking parents and other authorities. Ideas about what to fake and how to fake it trend with the times. But as P.T. Barnum knew, you can short-circuit critical thinking in any century by telling people what they want to hear. As captured by Gale Eaton's exuberant sleuthing and nonfiction artistry, the history of scam artists is both entertaining and revealing, a unique and telling lens through which to view human progress.

Includes a glossary of technical terms; sources by chapter; teaching resources as jumping-off points for student research; and endnotes.


The History in 50 series explores history by telling thematically linked stories. Each book includes 50 illustrated narrative accounts of people and events some well-known, others often overlooked--that, together, build a rich connect-the-dots mosaic and challenge conventional assumptions about how history unfolds.

(retrieved from Amazon Tue, 14 Jun 2016 09:33:32 -0400)

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