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History Decoded: The 10 Greatest Conspiracies of All Time

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Author: Brad Meltzer

Published: October 22nd 2013 by Workman Publishing Company

Format: Hardcover , 152 pages

Isbn: 9780761177456

Language: English


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It's an irresistible combination: Brad Meltzer, a born storyteller, counting down the world's most intriguing unsolved mysteries. And to make this richly illustrated book even richer, each chapter invites the reader along for an interactive experience through the addition of removable facsimile documents—the evidence! It's a treasure trove for conspiracy buffs, a Griffin a It's an irresistible combination: Brad Meltzer, a born storyteller, counting down the world's most intriguing unsolved mysteries. And to make this richly illustrated book even richer, each chapter invites the reader along for an interactive experience through the addition of removable facsimile documents—the evidence! It's a treasure trove for conspiracy buffs, a Griffin and Sabine for history lovers. Adapted from "Decoded," Meltzer's hit show on the HISTORY network, "History Decoded" explores fascinating, unexplained questions. Is Fort Knox empty? Why was Hitler so intent on capturing the Roman "Spear of Destiny"? What's the government hiding in Area 51? Where did the Confederacy's $19 million in gold and silver go at the end of the Civil War? And did Lee Harvey Oswald really act alone? Meltzer sifts through the evidence; weighs competing theories; separates what we know to be true with what's still—and perhaps forever—unproved or unprovable; and in the end, decodes the mystery, arriving at the most likely solution. Along the way we meet Freemasons, Rosicrucians, Nazi propagandists, and the real DB Cooper. Bound in at the beginning of each story is a custom-designed envelope—a faux 19th-century leather satchel, a U.S. government classified file—containing facsimiles of relevant evidence: John Wilkes Booth's alleged unsigned will, a map of the Vatican, Kennedy's death certificate. The whole is a riveting, interactive adventure through the compelling world of mysteries and conspiracies.

30 review for History Decoded: The 10 Greatest Conspiracies of All Time

  1. 4 out of 5

    ❀Aimee❀ Just one more page...

    3.5/5 Stars "The 10 Greatest Conspiracies of all Time" So the gimmick was a lot of fun. I have to say I loved turning to a new chapter and opening the evidence envelopes filled with copies/reproductions of associated "evidence". Each conspiracy section was about 10 pages or so with good discussion of the theories and evidence that was out there. The writing was intelligent and humorous. Conspiracy stories I enjoyed reading about: Was John Wilkes Booth's death staged? Did he live another 20 3.5/5 Stars "The 10 Greatest Conspiracies of all Time" So the gimmick was a lot of fun. I have to say I loved turning to a new chapter and opening the evidence envelopes filled with copies/reproductions of associated "evidence". Each conspiracy section was about 10 pages or so with good discussion of the theories and evidence that was out there. The writing was intelligent and humorous. Conspiracy stories I enjoyed reading about: Was John Wilkes Booth's death staged? Did he live another 20 years? Interesting evidence I've never heard before, including a possible JWB mummy in a cross-country show. DB Cooper Love this story. I felt this was the best one in the book. Newer evidence and scrutiny in the last few years led to a new suspect that I felt was pretty damn convincing. Plus, this story was from my neck of the woods. Is Fort Knox gold gone? I learned a lot of fun facts from this one. Kennedy Assassination overview A decent overview of all the conspiracies surrounding the assassination. I learned a lot of good info in the short chapter. Conspiracy stories I didn't care about: Hidden Confederate treasure Wouldn't surprise me. As far as I'm concerned, make more books/movies about it...it's great treasure plot fodder. Georgia Guidestones Didn't really see much of a mystery here.... Where is the Whitehouse's cornerstone? Just. Don't. Care. Plus, with the recent discovery of the amazing time-capsule in Boston, we have already found some pretty great historical treasure. Spear of Destiny Eh...sorta interesting, but not so much a mystery I care about I guess. Leonardo Da Vinci Prediction? STRREEETTTCCCHHHH Roswell and Area 51 Everyone. Just. Stop. I'm over it. Overall decent, fast, intriguing, and darn fun to open the envelopes full of "evidence". Something here for everyone.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Dj

    I love reading conspiracy books. I find them wonderfully amusing most of the time and have to ask myself how anyone can buy into most of them. So I thought that reading this book would be something like that. Man was I wrong. This is like the worst combination of the Daily Show and Fox News Network I have run up against ever. Sensationalism is the order of the day, lack of supporting evidence, that would be real evidence not something that might, sort of, maybe appear to be like evidence, is ama I love reading conspiracy books. I find them wonderfully amusing most of the time and have to ask myself how anyone can buy into most of them. So I thought that reading this book would be something like that. Man was I wrong. This is like the worst combination of the Daily Show and Fox News Network I have run up against ever. Sensationalism is the order of the day, lack of supporting evidence, that would be real evidence not something that might, sort of, maybe appear to be like evidence, is amazingly lacking. And where the author states that he is going to present an unbiased view of things, what he really meant was I am going to tell you what happened and you should buy it as well. On the up side he doesn't generally blast the usual suspects. When discussing searching for the 'missing' cornerstone of the White House. I am not sure why that would be a big deal and he made it sound like it was some huge conspiracy that ranked up with the likes of Kennedy and UFO cover ups, he states that he knows exactly where the stone is, but fails to back that up with any real evidence to support that claim, making it a strong suspicion not knowledge as I understand that terms. However this conspiracy revolves, sort of, around the Mason's. A organization which seems to rank about third in the overall blame everything on them list for any good conspiracy. I think it is Knights Templar and the Illuminati that rank ahead of them. The Brad Meltzer at least points out how unlikely something like that really is. Making it one of the most reasonable things he does in the whole book. All in all this book is jammed packed with supposition, guesses and a complete lack of evidence. It has a huge does of circumstantial evidence that is accepted in place of hard evidence. All in all a pass all around. If you do feel the need to read this book I would highly suggest that you do like I did and get it from the library, that way if you don't like it you won't feel that you wasted hard earned money on it.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Mike (the Paladin)

    Brad Meltzer opens this book by telling us he's not a conspiracy theorist. It occurs to me that he's a conspiracy theorist who doesn't want to be called a conspiracy theorist. You'll get an account of several of Meltzer's favorite conspiracies here from the Spear of Destiny to UFOs he looks at the arguments and evidence.....and also of course the conspiracy theories. It's not a bad read. If you're like me some of the conspiracies discussed will interest you more than others. The final conspiracy d Brad Meltzer opens this book by telling us he's not a conspiracy theorist. It occurs to me that he's a conspiracy theorist who doesn't want to be called a conspiracy theorist. You'll get an account of several of Meltzer's favorite conspiracies here from the Spear of Destiny to UFOs he looks at the arguments and evidence.....and also of course the conspiracy theories. It's not a bad read. If you're like me some of the conspiracies discussed will interest you more than others. The final conspiracy discussed is the assassination of JFK. This will enthrall some while others will probably have ODed on it long ago. The same will be true of all the subjects discussed. As for the writing, well it's okay. The book ties in with the TV series Meltzer put together on the same subject. So, easily readable, mildly interesting. Not bad.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Angus McKeogh

    Pretty good. Perhaps not as in-depth on certain topics as I was hoping but brought forth some interesting information. Reads very well in contrast to my recent foray into Rush to Judgement as relates to the JFK assassination. A lot of the arguments brought forth in the earlier book are completely refuted with newer information. Just makes me want to read about the whole incident in greater depth.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Claudia

    Seriously, if you've watched Brad Meltzer's Decoding History television series, you've already seen nine of the ten conspiracies in this book. The only one you're missing is the JFK assassination. And it reads like one of Mr. Meltzer's favorite things is to debunk conspiracy theories - or to do so as far as available facts allow anyone. One must also take into account that stories get enlarged and rumors exaggerated. Over time, a cache of a few coins becomes hundreds. A favored bandit becomes a m Seriously, if you've watched Brad Meltzer's Decoding History television series, you've already seen nine of the ten conspiracies in this book. The only one you're missing is the JFK assassination. And it reads like one of Mr. Meltzer's favorite things is to debunk conspiracy theories - or to do so as far as available facts allow anyone. One must also take into account that stories get enlarged and rumors exaggerated. Over time, a cache of a few coins becomes hundreds. A favored bandit becomes a modern Robin Hood. and escapes being captured. Anyway, the author's top ten favorites: * Was John Wilkes Booth actually apprehended * Where is all the Confederate Gold * The Georgia Guidestones * Who was DB Cooper * Where is the White House Cornerstone * The Spear of Destiny * The Real DaVinci Code * Is there any gold in Fort Knox * Roswell, UFO's and Area 51 * JFK Assassination The only one that I really considered NOT a conspiracy was regarding DaVinci - he was a incredibly intelligent man but he wasn't a prophet of any kind. He observed nature and picked aspects that he felt would help mankind if he could only figure out how. As for any secret codes that appeared in his paintings - just about all painters of the time period used codes and symbols to relay commentary on society, the Church and their sponsors. There are all basically interesting and the author doesn't really give any answer about the truth or fiction of any one of them. Admittedly, they are all American 'conspiracies' and it is likely, the federal government has the answer - or a number of them - hidden away in some file that will not see the light of day in our grandchildren's lifetimes, if then. No matter how specific a FOIL request may be. It was a fun read especially if you enjoy mysteries and are willing to accept that some will might never be solved. I have a copy of the ebook but saw a copy of the actually printed book at a local library branch which has little packets of 'evidence exhibits' for each chapter. In the ebook, there are links to photos of the same. Although, obviously, no ebook link is the same as the three dimensional mini of the Georgia Guidestones. 2020-011

  6. 4 out of 5

    Jim

    This one, unfortunately, was not what I expected. I heard a radio interview with one of the authors and was interested enough to stop by the bookstore on my lunch hour and pick it up. Its look and feel should have been, and was, fair warning of what I was actually getting but I bought it anyway - maybe because I'd asked a worker to help me find it and felt obliged to follow through. So ... what am I rambling about? History Decoded: The 10 Greatest Conspiracies of All Time was drawn from a History This one, unfortunately, was not what I expected. I heard a radio interview with one of the authors and was interested enough to stop by the bookstore on my lunch hour and pick it up. Its look and feel should have been, and was, fair warning of what I was actually getting but I bought it anyway - maybe because I'd asked a worker to help me find it and felt obliged to follow through. So ... what am I rambling about? History Decoded: The 10 Greatest Conspiracies of All Time was drawn from a History Channel series hosted by Brad Metzler. Metzler is an excellent writer. I've enjoyed his novels and even his comic books. The show was pitched to Metzler as his chance to, on a network's dime, dig into questions throughout history, research them, and present what was found. Investigative journalism of the past -- nice job if you can get it. Why'd they ask some best-selling author and not little old me? I've never actually watched an episode but I will seek it out now that I've heard of it. Excellent so far, so what's the problem? Well, that's where the misunderstanding comes in. I expected this book to grow from rather than simply reflect the level of scholarship that I would expect on television. I expected the authors to take the opportunity that comes in a written work to expand beyond what could be presented in a minutes-long segment on the History Channel. Instead, this seems very much like a duplication of ten short tv segments, with a little hokey thrown in to boot. What's hokey? Well, each chapter in the book contains facsimile "documents' relating to the various conspiracies. "Evidence" - even marked as evidence - that readers can pull out and touch. You can hold, for example, the receipt for Lee Harvey Oswald's gun or an "actual" copy of a blood oath card signed by members of a super-secret German society. Odd that it is in English, don't you think? But enough of that, for what it is, History Decoded is a fun read. It serves as a basic primer on some fun topics through history, from the Kennedy Assassination to the fate of John Wilkes Booth, from missing gold to missing hijackers , and hidden evidence of UFOs. I'd like to watch a documentary on any of the ten subjects covered - and I have on many. I just wish that in book form there would have been a bit more substance. But, alas, it is what it is.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Anne

    "History Decoded: the 10 Greatest Conspiracies of All Time" is a perfect resource to help fulfill the requirements of the Common Core. Whether or not this was done purposely, this collection of investigations will give teachers and students some sorely needed assistance on the road to meeting the challenges set forth by this directive. Each mystery is thoroughly examined, with interviews of witnesses and historians as well as copies of primary documents that add to the authenticity and give the "History Decoded: the 10 Greatest Conspiracies of All Time" is a perfect resource to help fulfill the requirements of the Common Core. Whether or not this was done purposely, this collection of investigations will give teachers and students some sorely needed assistance on the road to meeting the challenges set forth by this directive. Each mystery is thoroughly examined, with interviews of witnesses and historians as well as copies of primary documents that add to the authenticity and give the reader the feeling of being involved in the investigation. The examination of the conspiracy surrounding Roswell, UFO's and Area 51 is a perfect example. Meltzer examines the accounts of several eye witnesses and many scientists and government officials with various stories of what has occurred (or not) in New Mexico. A copy of a confidential questionnaire that had to be completed by any citizen reporting a UFO incident indicates the importance that was assigned to these random sightings. He also provides examples of other documents from "Project Blue Book," an examination of the over 12,000 UFO report received by the government. The author and his team also look at the controversies surrounding the capture of John Wilkes Booth, the contents of the vaults at Fort Knox and of course, the Kennedy assassination. I had never heard of some of these "conspiracies," but this book drew me in and had me desiring more information. Meltzer reports the facts, interviews the witnesses and provides the documents but he leaves it to the reader to draw conclusions. This is the stuff of Common Core dreams. The goal of this paradigm shift is to encourage students to research a topic, think critically about the evidence and then draw a conclusion, citing specific examples that would prove their point. This resource can be a starting point for a speech or history class, providing students with the controversy and some evidence. More investigation and research will lead students to a well developed argument for or against these theories. At the very least it will make for very lively classroom discussions.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Krista the Krazy Kataloguer

    I've always been fascinated with historical mysteries, so I had high hopes for this book. However, it seemed to consist of chapters based on episodes in the TV documentary series, which would have been ok except for the casual, chatty quality of the writing. It sounded like they took it, word for word, from the narrator's mouth and set it down on paper. In writing, especially about a non-fiction topic, I would expect a more formal writing style. What I didn't notice in the series but which was ve I've always been fascinated with historical mysteries, so I had high hopes for this book. However, it seemed to consist of chapters based on episodes in the TV documentary series, which would have been ok except for the casual, chatty quality of the writing. It sounded like they took it, word for word, from the narrator's mouth and set it down on paper. In writing, especially about a non-fiction topic, I would expect a more formal writing style. What I didn't notice in the series but which was very obvious here is that, for each "mystery," Meltzer seemed to focus on only one theory, usually the latest one. With some topics, such as the Kennedy assassination, you couldn't possibly cover all the theories and "discoveries" in one chapter. In other words, nothing was really explored in depth, and if you wanted to read more about each topic yourself, the author provided no bibliography of sources he consulted or books/web sites the reader could explore. The little envelopes containing reproductions of primary source documents that were found at the beginning of each chapter were interesting but not really necessary. Often, the same document was presented as an illustration in the chapter. This book was ok to stimulate someone's interest in some of these topics, but by no means a definitive source. Recommended--sort of.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Robert

    I really fought myself on this one, between three or four stars on the rating. I finally settled on four stars just because I really liked the concept that the books author was going for. Meltzer picks a top 10 type of list of conspiracies from his History channel T.V. show and then briefly goes over them. The cool part of the book is at the beginning of each chapter there is a little pocket containing miniaturized replicas of certain documents related to the topic under discussion. While a nove I really fought myself on this one, between three or four stars on the rating. I finally settled on four stars just because I really liked the concept that the books author was going for. Meltzer picks a top 10 type of list of conspiracies from his History channel T.V. show and then briefly goes over them. The cool part of the book is at the beginning of each chapter there is a little pocket containing miniaturized replicas of certain documents related to the topic under discussion. While a novel concept these can also be a bit annoying if you are laying in bed reading this late at night. Attempting to open these little pouches and pull out the documents inside can be tricky, especially for this with large hands. Overall a decent look at the topics covered, even a look at old D.B. Cooper and a very plausible theory on what happened to him. For a quick look at some interesting pieces of history I would recommend taking a look at this book.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Gary

    I would not recommend this book. I thought this book might be more about historical controversies and not just a list of conspiracy theories. Early into the book I started to get the feeling it was more of conspiracies, but was still hopeful that it would give an interesting and balanced view. However, after reading the first few chapters, though not based on “crazy” theories, it was doing what it could to fan flames of conspiracy (often in cases when there was little or no flame to work with). I would not recommend this book. I thought this book might be more about historical controversies and not just a list of conspiracy theories. Early into the book I started to get the feeling it was more of conspiracies, but was still hopeful that it would give an interesting and balanced view. However, after reading the first few chapters, though not based on “crazy” theories, it was doing what it could to fan flames of conspiracy (often in cases when there was little or no flame to work with). For this reason, the writing seemed, forced and was trying to create drama (unsuccessfully I might add). I had to muster a fair amount of discipline to force my way through this entire book (though it is not long). I suggest you do not put yourself through a similar painful exercise and just avoid the book.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Wax Faces

    Reads like a summation of several episodes of the show in that you'll get about the level of depth in terms of investigation into each of the conspiracies he explores as you would expect from a 1/2 hour television program. Mostly just seems to tow the company line in terms of what many have come to expect concerning these topics from a standard media source; meaning misinformation and propaganda leading to, "Don't bother trying to find the truth. These 'great mysteries' can never truly be known Reads like a summation of several episodes of the show in that you'll get about the level of depth in terms of investigation into each of the conspiracies he explores as you would expect from a 1/2 hour television program. Mostly just seems to tow the company line in terms of what many have come to expect concerning these topics from a standard media source; meaning misinformation and propaganda leading to, "Don't bother trying to find the truth. These 'great mysteries' can never truly be known." If you're unfamiliar with the topics, though, I suppose you could find a worse introduction. I wouldn't bother exploring them any deeper than this though. Can't imagine it ever leads to much good. ;]

  12. 4 out of 5

    Richard

    Meltzer's book presents ten great historical mysteries and the conspiracy theories associated with them. It is an enjoyable book to browse and includes numerous illustrations and documentation. As one would expect, few of the mysteries are resolved but enough evidence is presented to make the reader wonder about Area 51, UFOs, the fate of John Wilkes Booth and, above all, the facts surrounding the Kennedy Assassination. Despite the frustration created by the apparent insolubility of these events Meltzer's book presents ten great historical mysteries and the conspiracy theories associated with them. It is an enjoyable book to browse and includes numerous illustrations and documentation. As one would expect, few of the mysteries are resolved but enough evidence is presented to make the reader wonder about Area 51, UFOs, the fate of John Wilkes Booth and, above all, the facts surrounding the Kennedy Assassination. Despite the frustration created by the apparent insolubility of these events, it is fun to explore them.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Jim

    Not as impressed by this book as perhaps some people were, but a generally quick and easy read, with some interesting information. A bit repetitive, almost like watching one of those television shows that repeats information after every break. I was not too familiar with the Confederate gold, but most of the other stories I was somewhat acquainted with.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Ryan H

    There are always 3 parts to every story, yours, theirs and then the truth. This audiobook was great and I loved every second of it. It explores some of America's greatest conspiracy theories and best of all it presents the facts and myths in such a way the author is not trying to sway your opinion but just getting his findings to the lime light. It will really get you thinking and that is the whole point of a title like this. Are some of the theories wacky, sure depending on who you are and your There are always 3 parts to every story, yours, theirs and then the truth. This audiobook was great and I loved every second of it. It explores some of America's greatest conspiracy theories and best of all it presents the facts and myths in such a way the author is not trying to sway your opinion but just getting his findings to the lime light. It will really get you thinking and that is the whole point of a title like this. Are some of the theories wacky, sure depending on who you are and your beliefs but I would be hard pressed to find someone that listened to this and it did not get your mind going. It is presented in a countdown format and I liked that a lot, I might have changed the order up a little bit and sure, some theories were more exciting than others but I was very into this book the whole way through. The performance is done brilliantly and is done by one of the best in the business. This was not my first title done by this narrator and he does not disappoint. It brings a whole new meaning to bringing the words to life. Just that subtle pause or voice change with one word made all the difference and he seemed to know just when to use them. The performance just added to the presentation of the conspiracy, whether you believe it as fact or fiction I admired the way it was read. Overall, such an enjoyable listening experience for a conspiracy lover like myself, plus the author is right when he says... sometimes the scariest version of the story is the truth.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Sarah Coller

    I've always loved a good conspiracy theory so this book of the top 10 "greatest" was a fun read. The funniest one was the story of John Wilkes Booth's traveling mummy. The coolest one was the marked trees as Bob Brewer has studied some right here in Arkansas! The most believable one was DB Cooper--that one seems pretty obvious! The not-so-interesting one was about Da Vinci. Not a whole lot of new info there...in fact, I'm not really sure what the conspiracy was. But, it was interesting to see a I've always loved a good conspiracy theory so this book of the top 10 "greatest" was a fun read. The funniest one was the story of John Wilkes Booth's traveling mummy. The coolest one was the marked trees as Bob Brewer has studied some right here in Arkansas! The most believable one was DB Cooper--that one seems pretty obvious! The not-so-interesting one was about Da Vinci. Not a whole lot of new info there...in fact, I'm not really sure what the conspiracy was. But, it was interesting to see a self-portrait I'd not seen. Regarding aliens---I've always wondered if they are the Bible's Nephilim. All in all, it was a good read. I set it down and literally immediately picked up Meltzer's, The House of Secrets!

  16. 4 out of 5

    Eden

    2020 - bk 73. One of the better books I've read that mirrors the television show it was based upon. I loved Brad Melzer's History Decoded and was delighted when I found this book on my library's shelves. Melzer outlines each of the mysteries he investigated and through print, allows the reader/viewer to see more clearly the images or documents shown on his shows. In fact, each of the mysteries depicted has an envelope in which are reprints of documents, maps, or pictures for even closer perusal. 2020 - bk 73. One of the better books I've read that mirrors the television show it was based upon. I loved Brad Melzer's History Decoded and was delighted when I found this book on my library's shelves. Melzer outlines each of the mysteries he investigated and through print, allows the reader/viewer to see more clearly the images or documents shown on his shows. In fact, each of the mysteries depicted has an envelope in which are reprints of documents, maps, or pictures for even closer perusal. All in all, a very satisfying read.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Chris

    From UFOs to lost confederate gold, from the “spear of destiny” to the assassinations of both Lincoln and Kennedy, this book contains 10 of histories biggest conspiracies. The stories are written with facts and speculations, with an added bit from author Brad Meltzer who throws some of his own thoughts and theories about what truly happened. Two of the most interesting conspiracies for me were what is actually hidden in Fort Knox and the disappearance of the spear that was used to stab Jesus dur From UFOs to lost confederate gold, from the “spear of destiny” to the assassinations of both Lincoln and Kennedy, this book contains 10 of histories biggest conspiracies. The stories are written with facts and speculations, with an added bit from author Brad Meltzer who throws some of his own thoughts and theories about what truly happened. Two of the most interesting conspiracies for me were what is actually hidden in Fort Knox and the disappearance of the spear that was used to stab Jesus during his crucifixion. Interesting theories even though some of the speculations pushed the limit a little far.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Aqsa

    I’m not one to consider whether the analysis of these theories is accurate or unbiased, but I enjoyed the book and it was a quick and unpretentious read. It’s actually a pretty good summary of prominent American historical events and places. There’s not much satisfaction to be had in the discoveries for some of the chapters (limited by access to resources or by the length of time that had passed), but different routes are explored and some of the background to the theories gave me chills.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Don LeClair

    This was a pretty fast paced read on an interesting collection of conspiracy cases. I liked the ones best where Brad Meltzer explains the theory (or theories) and why they where they went off track from reality. His perspective on why people people want the conspiracy to be true are very interesting. The section on the Kennedy Assassination is probably the best of them all. I was less thrilled with the UFO/Roswell section. In any event it was a fun read.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Leslie

    I used to watch the History channel show that this book is drawn from so there weren't a lot of surprises. If you watched the show there wasn't a lot of 'wild speculation' and a lot of debunking. This is a good book for people who want to explore conspiracy theory without going too far down the rabbit hole.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Luke Powers

    I liked it. I read/listened to it for the section on D.B. Cooper. This is an almost word for word transcription o the television show Brad Meltzer's Decoded. So, if you've seen the show there is no need to read the book.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Katherine Coble

    Fun gimmick. Read piecemeal over time. Nothing earth shattering.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Ryan

    Nothing too ground breaking, but it was fun to read!

  24. 4 out of 5

    Leslie

    This is the way to do a book about conspiracies. Just a few pages on each and include an actual document -- or three -- with each one.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Lance

    This was a great book to read for the 50th anniversary of the JFK assassination, which Meltzer lists in his book as the #1 conspiracy. I suspect that the majority would have much disagreement there. The whole book is really amazing. The only thing that I didn't like about it was that Meltzer limited his attention to only the "top ten" conspiracies. I wish the book had more to offer than just ten. As it is, Meltzer doesn't disappoint with the ten within his focus. Having watched his Decoded series, This was a great book to read for the 50th anniversary of the JFK assassination, which Meltzer lists in his book as the #1 conspiracy. I suspect that the majority would have much disagreement there. The whole book is really amazing. The only thing that I didn't like about it was that Meltzer limited his attention to only the "top ten" conspiracies. I wish the book had more to offer than just ten. As it is, Meltzer doesn't disappoint with the ten within his focus. Having watched his Decoded series, I could easily see where much of the material was already collected. All Meltzer had to do was assemble it. But that is the cool part. Meltzer does a really good job of presenting the evidence and then letting the reader decide what to think. That doesn't mean that Meltzer doesn't offer commentary en route. There's plenty of that, and it's very entertaining to read. He will tell you what he thinks. But Meltzer doesn't offer a thesis that he is trying to prove or "the answer" that in his world explains everything. If you disagree with him, he's okay with that. Meltzer doesn't stop there. He also provides "documents" with each conspiracy he investigates. These documents are simply miniature facsimiles of actual artifacts related to the conspiracies. This was a great addition to the book that made the stories more real and infinitely more interesting. And it makes the book a springboard for discussion and conversation about history. I think that is simply incredible. Again, I wish that the book were actually longer. But I can't complain with what Meltzer provides. And I can always hope that Meltzer assembles a sequel!

  26. 4 out of 5

    Nitya Iyer

    I picked this up eager to read about the unraveling of real-life mysteries, since the intersection of conspiracy theories and history has always been of interest. I was particularly thrilled to see the reproductions of historical documents tucked into the book, because it lead me to believe that I would find well-researched answers to questions that have plagued historians for years. Sadly however, it seems that "History Vaguely Posited" would have been a better title for this book. Most of the I picked this up eager to read about the unraveling of real-life mysteries, since the intersection of conspiracy theories and history has always been of interest. I was particularly thrilled to see the reproductions of historical documents tucked into the book, because it lead me to believe that I would find well-researched answers to questions that have plagued historians for years. Sadly however, it seems that "History Vaguely Posited" would have been a better title for this book. Most of the chapters, after wandering through several possible explanations, end with an honest admission that no one really knows the truth, which I found incredibly unfulfilling. And even with the explanations explored, I longed for more details to sate my appetite. For example, why DID the masons choose the direction they did for the cornerstone of the White House? And what do the Georgia Guidestones actually say? And is there any connection between the languages used? I suppose as an overview, introduction or palate-pleaser, this book would do. But I was just left wanting much more.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Ben

    Kind of picked this up randomly on one of my visits to the Hershey library. The premise was intriguing, and as far as quick gimmick reads, it looked good. But that's all this really is, a quick gimmick read. There's not a whole lot of 'history' to this, or 'information' or 'learning'. Brad Meltzer wants to tell you he's not a conspiracy theorist..... but that's exactly what he is. It's completely written as a conspiracy theorist, and that's all this really is. Just because he wants to tell you h Kind of picked this up randomly on one of my visits to the Hershey library. The premise was intriguing, and as far as quick gimmick reads, it looked good. But that's all this really is, a quick gimmick read. There's not a whole lot of 'history' to this, or 'information' or 'learning'. Brad Meltzer wants to tell you he's not a conspiracy theorist..... but that's exactly what he is. It's completely written as a conspiracy theorist, and that's all this really is. Just because he wants to tell you he's not one, doesn't mean he isn't. If I tell you I'm not human.... I'm still human. The writing throughout is done in a style to try and lend credence to whatever he wants you to believe in kind of conning/rhetoric and underhanded ways. The writing also comes off commonly as childish, even using acronyms in places "I don't care which is right (FYI Mayhew was right)." [quote from the book]. Eh, its just something that could be completely skipped.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Julie Wade

    Brad Meltzer is one of my favorite authors. His books are filled with lots of great information.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Randy Daugherty

    If you are a fan of Brad Meltzer decoded programs on the history channel you will enjoy this. The book takes 10 different conspiracies and devotes a chapter to each the las being the assasination of JFK. From the Georgia Stones to UFO's and the Spear of Destiny we learn the history and the story of each. Brad at the end of each section gives his and his teams take on the subject often we are left with the possibility of it being real such as Robert Kennedy Jr. saying the evidence points to more t If you are a fan of Brad Meltzer decoded programs on the history channel you will enjoy this. The book takes 10 different conspiracies and devotes a chapter to each the las being the assasination of JFK. From the Georgia Stones to UFO's and the Spear of Destiny we learn the history and the story of each. Brad at the end of each section gives his and his teams take on the subject often we are left with the possibility of it being real such as Robert Kennedy Jr. saying the evidence points to more than one shooter. Does he know or have access to information we do not? The rest of the files will be released in 2017 perhaps they will shine a light on one of history's biggest questions, or perhaps Oswald and Ruby took the secrets to the grave with them. What ever side of the arguement you fall on, the book is worth a read and perhaps it will cause you to question what you think you know.

  30. 4 out of 5

    John Martindale

    Well, I was convinced Meltzer wasn't a conspiracy fruit cake, but then he got to his short chapter on aliens and all his credibility elaborated like mist in the blistering sun. He didn't even try in the slightest to be objective, not even one good answers or explanation in response to the nuts and crazies (because he is one). He showed his hand, making it quite clear that he himself is a believer, of course he claimed to have seen a UFO, so I should give him some grace, to see is to believe, aft Well, I was convinced Meltzer wasn't a conspiracy fruit cake, but then he got to his short chapter on aliens and all his credibility elaborated like mist in the blistering sun. He didn't even try in the slightest to be objective, not even one good answers or explanation in response to the nuts and crazies (because he is one). He showed his hand, making it quite clear that he himself is a believer, of course he claimed to have seen a UFO, so I should give him some grace, to see is to believe, after all, right? But yeah, the contrast was huge, he was rather skeptical of the other 9 conspiracies and this was what I was wanting; yeah, a balance look at what we know and don't know. It was all going so well until he got to extraterrestrials. The chapter was bad enough to knock two stars off of my rating of the book.

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