April 22, 2014 | SuzyQ
To quote Mark Twain "Truth is stranger than fiction..." and the following titles are certainly proof of that!
Lord Minimus: the extraordinary life of Britain's smallest man by Nick Page — Th true story of Jeffrey Hudson, the 18-inch "official dwarf" of the 17th century Stuart court.
The last alchemist: Count Cagliostro, master of magic in the age of reason by Iain McCalman — A fascinating account of the career of one of the most famous charlatans of the 18th century, Count Alessandro di Cagliostro, who traveled all over Europe - usually one step ahead of the authorities - passing himself off as an alchemist and a healer.
Agent Zigzag: a true story of Nazi espionage, love, and betrayal by Ben MacIntyre — Eddie Chapman was a charming criminal, a con man, and a philanderer. He was also one of the most remarkable double agents Britain has ever produced.
The land that never was: Sir Gregor MacGregor and the most audacious fraud in history by David Sinclair — The story of Sir Gregor MacGregor and the most audacious fraud in history, who In 1822 and 1823, convinced some 250 emigrants to set sail from England for the shores of Poyais, in South America - a country that did not exist.
Monsieur D'Eon is a woman: a tale of political intrigue and sexual masquerade by Gary Kates — The remarkable life of the Chevalier d'Eon, the notorious 18th-century French cross- dresser, diplomat, writer, and spy.
The emperor of scent: a story of perfume, obsession, and the last mystery of the senses by Chandler Burr — The strange tale of Luca Turin, scientist, connoisseur, and maverick who happened to possess an unusually sensitive nose and proposed a new theory of smell that promised to unravel its mystery once and for all.
Charlatan: America's most dangerous huckster, the man who pursued him, and the age of flimflam by Pope Brock — The biography of snake-oil salesman and gifted entrepreneur John R. Brinkley, who in his day was America's most famous fake doctor. Brinkley built his own radio station in 1923, selling his pseudoscience over the airwaves and giving an outlet to both astrologers and country music!
The Black Count: glory, revolution, betrayal, and the real Count of Monte Cristo by Tom Reiss — According to the author, the inspiration for the great novel of intrigue, betrayal, and revenge - The Count of Monte Cristo - was actually the author Alexandre Dumas' own father, General Alexandre Alex Dumas, born to a slave mother and a French aristocrat.
La Grande Thérèse: the greatest scandal of the century by Hilary Spurling — The story of Therese Humbert, one of the most powerful women in France until her exposure for fraud in 1902. Born in France to a poor family, she began weaving a web of lies that gave her imaginary wealth and status and for two decades presidents, prime ministers, archbishops, bankers, and diplomats vied for her attention.
The perfect prince by Ann Wroe — The story of one of the most intriguing pretenders in history, who was celebrated throughout 15th century Europe as the prince he claimed to be: Richard, Duke of York, one of the “Princes in the Tower” who were presumed to have been murdered almost a decade earlier.
Unlikely allies: how a merchant, a playwright, and a spy saved the American Revolution by Joel Richard Paul — The true story of how three men used espionage, betrayal, and sexual deception to help win the American Revolution.
A bright and guilty place: murder, corruption, and L.A.'s scandalous coming of age by Richard Rayner — The story of the entwined lives of two men - prosecutor Dave Clark, and photographer Leslie White - who were caught up in the crimes, murders, and swindles of late 1920s Los Angeles.
Dragon hunter: Roy Chapman Andrews and the Central Asiatic expeditions by Charles Gallenkamp— Possibly the model for Indiana Jones, Roy Chapman Andrews explored the uncharted Gobi Desert of Outer and Inner Mongolia for extinct mammals, uncovering such unimagined scientific wonders as the Flaming Cliffs, dinosaur eggs, and the first skeleton of a Velociraptor.
Agent Garbo: the brilliant, eccentric secret agent who tricked Hitler and saved D-Day by Stephan Talty — Juan Pujol was a Barcelona poultry farmer determined to oppose the Nazis. Acting as a double agent for the British, and using his gift for outrageous lies, he created a vast network of fictional subagents. Unbelievably, his unwitting German handlers believed every word he fed them.
The men who stare at goats by Jon Ronson — In 1979, a crack commando unit was established by the most gifted minds within the U.S. Army, defying all known laws of physics and accepted military practice. An unsettling exploration of the U.S. military's flirtation with the supernatural.
The orchid thief by Susan Orlean — One deeply eccentric man’s pursuit of an endangered flower.