A delightfully revealing look at scammers and their scams.

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FAKERS

AN INSIDER'S GUIDE TO CONS, HOAXES, AND SCAMS

In this lively look at the history of human trickery, Wood takes readers on a tour of cons, frauds, hoaxes, impersonations, and scams.

The swindle is as old as history. The shell game, once called cups and balls, originated in ancient Rome. One example of a newer type of fakery, the “long con,” is the pyramid scheme, and Wood recounts the scams used by two of its most infamous practitioners, Carlo Ponzi and Bernie Madoff. No book about fakery would be complete without a discussion of P.T. Barnum’s many famous humbugs. Wood also reveals the tricks behind such carnival games as the ring toss, ball toss, and guessing games. Scientists have fallen prey to or helped perpetrate such hoaxes as the Rabbit Woman, the Lying Stones, and the Piltdown Man, but a long time passed before skeptical scientists were convinced the platypus was not a hoax. Deceptive practices in medicine have undoubtedly caused many injuries and deaths, but Wood recounts one medical hoax that saved dozens of Italian Jews when doctors in a Rome hospital convinced Nazis the Jews were afflicted with a dangerously infectious disease called Syndrome K and better kept in quarantine. These and more are all covered in lively prose that’s delivered with a healthy sense of irony. Clark’s full-color cartoons match Wood’s tone and are augmented by archival illustrations and photographs.

A delightfully revealing look at scammers and their scams. (further reading, source notes, index) (Nonfiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: Oct. 2, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-58089-743-3

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Charlesbridge

Review Posted Online: Aug. 14, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2018

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A slim volume big on historical information and insight.

COME ON IN, AMERICA

THE UNITED STATES IN WORLD WAR I

A wide-ranging exploration of World War I and how it changed the United States forever.

Students who know anything about history tend to know other wars better—the Civil War, World War II, Vietnam. But it was World War I that changed America and ushered in a new role for the United States as a world political and economic leader. Two million Americans were sent to the war, and in the 19 months of involvement in Europe, 53,000 Americans were killed in battle, part of the staggering total death toll of 10 million, a war of such magnitude that it transformed the governments and economies of every major participant. Osborne’s straightforward text is a clear account of the war itself and various related topics—African-American soldiers, the Woman’s Peace Party, the use of airplanes as weapons for the first time, trench warfare, and the sinking of the Lusitania. Many archival photographs complement the text, as does a map of Europe (though some countries are lost in the gutter). A thorough bibliography includes several works for young readers. A study of World War I offers a context for discussing world events today, so this volume is a good bet for libraries and classrooms—a well-written treatment that can replace dry textbook accounts.

A slim volume big on historical information and insight. (timeline, source notes, credits) (Nonfiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: March 14, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4197-2378-0

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: Dec. 26, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2017

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A valuable addition to the presidential-biography shelf.

COLONEL THEODORE ROOSEVELT

An absorbing portrait of an iconic president known as much for his adventurous nature as his robust political life.

Presidential biographies present a challenge in that many of the facts are familiar, and Theodore Roosevelt, the 26th president of the United States, was such a colorful character that he continues to be an attractive subject for young readers. As indicated by his title, acclaimed biographer Adler focuses on Roosevelt the adventurer, documenting how a determined Roosevelt grew from a sickly, bookish child to an energetic young man devoted to politics. His exploits in the wild and as a Rough Rider share page space with his personal challenges and stories of his lively family. Adler does not shy away from the less-attractive aspects of Roosevelt’s presidency. Much has been made of his dinner with the African-American leader Booker T. Washington. “But he did not support easier access for blacks to the voting booth. He did not appoint a great number of blacks to federal jobs. And in 1906 he seemed to cross the line and support unequal treatment of blacks” with the Brownsville Affair. In addition to an engaging narrative, this volume is replete with illustrations: photographs, political cartoons of the period, even drawings done by Roosevelt himself. Adler’s research is supported by a detailed timeline, source notes, bibliography, picture credits and index.

A valuable addition to the presidential-biography shelf. (Biography. 10-14)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-8234-2950-9

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: July 16, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2014

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