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Who Was Mr Nobody?: Debunking Historical…

Who Was Mr Nobody?: Debunking Historical Mysteries

by Ed Rayner

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Who Was Mr. Nobody? Debunking Historical Mysteries, by Ed Rayner and Ron Stapley, is a collection of short descriptions of various historical events that have left modern people puzzled, and the possible solutions to these "mysteries." The book is divided into six categories: Dead or Alive?, Mysterious Identities, Murder and Mayhem, Plots and Intrigues, Military, Naval and Air Mysteries, and Mysteries, Secrets and Disappearances. Each section contains a handful of stories related to the category, and provides possible solutions for each one. The majority of the events are British, not surprising as the authors are Brits, but there are a handful of stories about historical events in other countries too. There are no notes and no list of specific documents that the authors might have used to prepare their own book, although there is a modest bibliography at the end. Generally just a light look at some mysteries of the past, not particularly compelling but not bad. Mildly recommended. ( )
  thefirstalicat | Sep 6, 2013 |
I almost feel bad for giving this book such a low rating, as it is certainly well written. However, when the subtitle is 'debunking historical mysteries' and very little debunking occurs, one feels that the title is, if not quite a lie, certainly it's over-egging the pudding.

For most of the mysteries nothing new was added, certainly no new analysis, and, as I have read two of the books they use as sources for two of the mysteries, I know they leave a certain amount of explanatory detail and context out. They also leave out a lot about who some of the point and counter-point proposers are. For instance, in the case of the Tutankhamun "mystery" (Howard Carter: Deception Among The Pyramids pp73-83) the writers do not mention that Gerald O'Farrell, who they cite as a source for their contention that Carter found the tomb of Tutankhamun about ten years before he officially found it and proceeded to loot it, also suggests, in the same text as the tomb robbery theory, that Tutankhamun was the real, historical basis for Jesus (The Tutankhamun Deception - my review here http://www.librarything.com/work/1207589/reviews/28961404). While the one does not necessarily counteract the other, information that O'Farrell may be a little 'alternative' would have been useful.

This is not to say the whole book is bad. I particularly liked the sections on Colonel Blood, Dick Turpin, Prince Frederick (son of George I) and on Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.

However, all in all, it brought nothing new to the field and is more of a scanty review of the mysteries than anything else. ( )
  redfiona | Jul 19, 2009 |
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