9780393326444 / 0393326446

The Great Pretenders: The True Stories Behind Famous Historical Mysteries


3.66 avg rating104 ratings by GoodReads

Publisher:W. W. Norton & Company, 2005



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About the book:

"A guilty pleasure....The Victorian-era courtroom antics alone are worth the price of admission."Publishers Weekly

Jan Bondeson, M.D., focuses his medical expertise and insightful wit on the great unsolved mysteries of disputed identity of the last two hundred years. Did the son of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette really die in the Temple Tower, or did the Lost Dauphin reappear among the throngs of pretenders to the throne? And what does DNA testing reveal about the Dauphin's mummified heart? Who was Kaspar Hauser: an abused child, the crown prince of Baden, or a pathological liar? In this highly entertaining work covering the most famous cases of disputed identity, Jan Bondeson uncovers all the evidence, then applies his medical knowledge and logical thinking to ascertain the true stories behind these fascinating histories. "Bondeson examines hitherto neglected documents and adds his valuable medical knowledge....Entertaining studies of classic imposters and a public inclined to be gullible even before the age of TV." Kirkus Reviews 36 illustrations

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