Bad History : How We Got the Past Wrong, Hardback

Bad History : How We Got the Past Wrong Hardback

4 out of 5 (1 rating)


So much of what we know about historical events is based on generally accepted 'facts': Roman gladiators fought to the death; the Wild West was full of danger; the Wall Street Crash led to the Great Depression.

But, history is, in fact, full of myths and misunderstandings that have become part of popular belief and wrongly coloured our understanding of historical figures and events. Each entry discusses the case for and against commonly accepted 'facts', and corrects what you thought you knew about history. Entries include: Was Captain Scott iconic or incompetent? Did Benito Mussolini make the trains run on time? Was the Suffragette movement responsible for securing votes for women in Britain? Was Caligula an insane tyrant and sexual pervert? Bad History provides a rigorously researched and entertaining read, perfect for any history enthusiast who wants to get their facts straight.


  • Format: Hardback
  • Pages: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Michael O'Mara Books Ltd
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: General & world history
  • ISBN: 9781843176176



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If you know the British television series, QI, then the best description of this book is QI history. The purpose of this book is to debunk all those universal facts of history; e.g. Australia was established as a penal colony, Watt invented the steam engine, Mussolini made the trains run on time.The writing style is entertaining and one hungrily devours this book and, if you are anything like me, tit bits will stick in the memory and one will, regularly, return to establish the true facts upon some matter where one's knowledge has been stood upon its head. I have only awarded it four stars because, like the aforementioned television programme, some of the history is pretty obvious such as Watt and the steam engine. Most rational people know that Watt was not the only person working upon the idea of steam power - he just happened to create the first practical example. Despite this little criticism, the book does contain many truths, which I thought that I knew, and which turn out to be erroneous; sadly, Lincoln was not a champion of black rights, Queen Mary was not a ruthless persecutor of English Protestants, to name but two. Reading items, such as this, leads one to question one's perceived knowledge base, and that is no bad thing. A well researched and entertaining book.