Debunking Books and a Book on Debunking

It isn’t just history myths that need debunking. Now and then, books do too. Here’s a list I thought you’d enjoy of  the “10 Bestselling Books That Were Later Debunked” and why.  Were you taken in by any of them?

News flash:

DEATH BY PETTICOAT: AMERICAN HISTORY MYTHS DEBUNKED is now available for reviewers on The book itself won’t be in bookstores until June 5. 

If anyone has a connection to a publication that might run a review of the book, I’d appreciate it if you’d consider writing one. The publisher has given permission for reviewers to excerpt up to 3 myths of their choice, if that makes it easier (I think it does!) Actual hard copies of the book will be available for reviewers in a couple months, and if you’d like to have one, send your name and address directly to my email at and tell me where your review would appear, and I’ll forward the information to the publisher.


One Response to Debunking Books and a Book on Debunking

  1. Deborah Brower says:

    That was a great post, but as we know those books are just the tip of the ice berg.

    When I was touring a site in New England a few years age the docent and I began chatting about history myths. The discussion was spared by the flaming cook myth. He then brought something very interesting about gun ownership in early America. At the time I though i should look into that.

    Spurred by this blog I emailed the director of the site to see if I could pin it down. He said the docent was stretching the conclusions of a study the director had done of Militia Units in Upstate New York during the first half of the 19th century. He did indeed find 1/4 to 1/3 of the men showed up for training days without the required equipment (including a gun). The men were required by the state to have them and bear the expense themselves. Guns were expensive and for some it was easier to just pay the fine than invest in the proper equipment. This reflected a narrow slice of research so to project to represent the country as a whole would be a stretch without more information.

    It is however a subject that would be interesting to sleuth out – as long as one were able to set aside personal bias. You would have to know full well that the results would be challenged source things carefully and be prepared to defend your results.

    Unfortunately a book was written, challenged and found to be lacking. The whole story is on Wikipedia, very sad.

    So I guess the lesson here is to listen to gut and if it seems out of line check it. Heck, just check it out anyway.

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