The Great Pretenders: The True Stories Behind Famous Historical Mysteries

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W. W. Norton & Company, 2004 - History - 326 pages
2 Reviews
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. 36 illustrations.

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User Review  - lostinavalonOR - LibraryThing

This one was pretty good with lots of information and characters that were new to me. Just a couple thoughts that really don't have a lot to do with the main point of these stories: The Lost Dauphin ... Read full review

THE GREAT PRETENDERS: The True Stories Behind Famous Historical Mysteries

User Review  - Jane Doe - Kirkus

Continuing his series of historical investigations (Buried Alive, 2001, etc.), Bondeson reconsiders perennial tales of substituted infants, royal pretenders, wild children, and claimants to lapsed ... Read full review

Selected pages


The Lost Dauphin
The Mystery of Kaspar Hauser
The Emperor and the Hermit
Princess Olive Hannah Lightfoot and George Rex
The Tichborne Claimant
The Duke of Baker Street
A World of Mysteries

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About the author (2004)

Jan Bondeson, a physician, holds a Ph.D. in experimental medicine and works at the Kennedy Institute of Rheumatology in London.

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