A Treasury of Deception: Liars, Misleaders, Hoodwinkers, and the Extraordinary True Stories of History's Greatest Hoaxes, Fakes, and Frauds

Front Cover
Penguin, 2005 - History - 287 pages
4 Reviews

We may say that honesty is the best policy, but history--to say nothing of business, politics, and the media--suggests otherwise. In this infinitely citable book, the author of two bestselling treasuries of scandal recounts some of the greatest deceptions of all time. With what forged document did the Vatican lay claim to much of Europe? Who wrote Hitler's diaries? Why do millions still believe the vague doggerel that Nostradamus passed off as prophecy? Organizing his material by theme (con artists, the press, military trickery, scientific fraud, imposters, great escapes, and more), Michael Farquhar takes in everything from the hoodwinking of Hitler to Vincent "the Chin" Gigante's thirty-year crazy act.

A Treasury of Deception is a zestful, gossipy exposé--and celebration--of mendacity.

A Treasury of Deception also includes:

Ten tricksters from scripture Ten great liars in literature Ten egregious examples of modern American doublespeak Ten classic deceptions from Greek mythology
 

What people are saying - Write a review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - wishanem - LibraryThing

Exactly what it says on the cover. I think the book would have benefited from a tighter focus, or an overall arc. Instead, it bounces between a variety of lies, scams, hoaxes, and tricks without any dramatic pressure or overarching ideas. Entertaining, but shallow. Read full review

A great summer book.

User Review  - Pathos Verdes - Borders

The book is a collection of many of histories more blatant deceptions. Written with great with and humor, everyone will enjoy this book. Anyone familiar with the series will greatly enjoy this book. Read full review

Contents

SUPERDUPERS
1
Charlatans Web
3
A Taste for Trickery
5
Prince of Humbugs
7
Unreal Estate
11
Imposter on a Role
15
CHINcanery
19
ALL THE NEWS THATS SLIPPED TO PRINT
23
Shrouding the Truth
143
To Be Or Not to Be the Bard
145
They Just Cant Be Etruscted
148
French Fraud
150
A Thin Vermeer
152
Not Quite the Surreal Deal
155
Con Man of the Year
156
Führer over a Fraud
164

What Janet Cooked Up
25
Ben Franklin The Devil Made Him Do It
30
A Poe Excuse for a Hoax
32
The Sun Promises the Moon
34
The Hoax That Roared
37
Extra Greed All About It
41
False Alarm
44
Mencken Up History
46
Khmer Ruse
49
Times Bomb
51
THE WARS OF THE RUSES
55
The Agony of Deceit
57
Suns Burn
59
A Bridge Too Far?
62
Stretching the Troops
64
Warning Smoking May Be Hazardous to Your Success
67
Drowned and Dirty The Man Who Never Was
69
Phantom Force
71
STATESPONSORED DECEPTIONS
77
A Bogus Bequest
79
Three Rings with Aces Up Their Sleeves
82
Cardinal Sin
88
Tricking a Fight
91
The Lies and Fraud of the Third Reich
94
Elenas Padded Resume
106
Gadhafi Dead to Rights
108
Red White and Not Always True
110
SCIENCE FICTIONS
121
Monkey Business
123
Bunny Tale
127
Casting Stones
129
A Hoax in Perpetuity
132
Diagnostic Deception
134
A Naked Lie
136
Duplicity
138
FANTASTIC FORGERIES AND LITERARY FRAUDS
141
Murder Ink
167
THE DEADLIEST LIES EVER TOLD
171
The Blood Libel
173
The Protocols of the Elders of Zion
177
Witchcraze
180
A Big Red Lie
183
What in the Name of God
190
THE GREAT PRETENDERS
197
The Paupers Who Would Be Prince
199
Tsar Struck
203
QueenWannaBe
207
A School of Dauphins
209
The Last Tsarevna?
214
ESCAPES HATCHED
223
A Bloody Good Ruse
225
CrossDressed for Success
227
Special Delivery from Bondage
230
Sneak Retreat
232
Out of Colditz
234
GOTCHA
241
No Shot Sherlock An Unlikely Fairy Tale
243
The Weirdest Thing You Ever Sawed
245
Home Delivery
247
A Ruse of Ones Own
249
Practically Indecent Alan Abel and the Siege of Troy
251
Plucking Pasta and Pulling Legs
253
Painting the Town Purple
255
Underhand Pitches
257
Ten Tricksters from Scripture
259
Ten Great Liars in Literature
267
Ten Classic Deceptions from Greek Mythology
271
Ten Egregious Examples of Modern American Doublespeak
281
Select Bibliography
285
Acknowledgments
288
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About the author (2005)

Michael Farquhar is a writer and editor at the Washington Post specializing in history. He is the author of the bestsellers A Treasury of Great American Scandals and A Treasury of Royal Scandals. He appeared on the History Channel’s Russia, Land of the Tsars and will be featured on a forthcoming program about the French Revolution.

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