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

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Penguin, May 31, 2005 - History - 320 pages
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


Unreal Estate
The Devil Made Him Do
Khmer Ruse
Smoking May Be Hazardous to Your Success
The Lies and Fraud of the Third Reich
Monkey Business
Führer over a Fraud
A Big Red
The Last Tsarevna?
Special Delivery from Bondage
Plucking Pasta and Pulling Legs
Ten Classic Deceptions from Greek Mythology

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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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