The Not-So-Nude Ride of Lady Godiva: & Other Morsels of Misinformation from the History Books

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Press: TarcherPerigee (June 14, 2012)


It is said that history is written by the winners. 
However, the “winners” aren’t always the best historians.
Enter David Haviland, to set the record straight.
In his quirky, inimitable style, Haviland separates fact from fiction regarding some of history’s most well-known people and events, such as: Lady Godiva: By far, history’s most famous nudist equestrian.
But how nude was she, really? And how did this same legend give rise to the term “Peeping Tom”? The Boston Tea Party: What was the cause of this famous “party” that wasn’t really a party? (Hint: If you guessed a rise in taxes, you’re dead wrong!) World War I: How did a directionally challenged chauffeur spark the Great War? Queen Victoria: Nowadays, the word “Victorian” is synonymous with stuffy prudishness.
But would a prude pose nude for a provocative portrait, or become “close” with a young Indian servant?In The Not-So-Nude Ride of Lady Godiva, Haviland untangles fallacy, farce, and misrepresentation of historic proportions.
The end result is a wholly fascinating, highly educational compendium of historical folly that will entertain readers young and old!


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Comment List (Total:9)

  •     I have read at least two other books that this author wrote with a co-author. I really enjoyed those. This one was interesting, but not as witty. Still, I was enjoying the historical questions and answers, until I came to a topic I knew well. I've read literally dozens of books about Custer and the Little Bighorn, so I knew just how wrong the author got the facts on that topic. I'm not talking a difference of opinion here. I'm talking just plain facts he got wrong. This of course makes me question all the things I read in the book. I also noted that one entry contained information that is widely believed about staircases in castle towers being designed for right handed swordplay. However, I've recently learned that is a commonly believed fallacy. So now I am torn. The book is interesting, and I really do believe most of it is accurate. However, shouldn't it all be accurate?
  •     What a mess. Riddled with errors anyone with access to google and wikipedia could find. Two examples: James I of England was most definitely not a Catholic king as this book tries to claim, but was raised in the Presbyterian kirk (church); and Caroline Mathilde was the sister of George III of England and not his daughter. Makes me wonder what else this author got glaringly wrong.
  •     Collect odds & ends of history books. Just had to have this one.
  •     Well written. Intersting infirmation. Thinking about ourchasing the book for a gift. Woukd be interested in other boojs by author.
  •     This book was highly entertaining and fascinating to read. David Haviland has done an absolutely superb job of researching, writing and compiling all of these historical, short-story gems. Whilst there was a connection between some of the stories, the book could literally be opened at any point and still provide an enjoyable read. The wide range of topics covered by Haviland are about popular, well known subjects or people, such as; the Great Wall of China, Bluetooth, Richard the Lionheart, Queen Victoria, Roman Emperor Augustus, President Abraham Lincoln and other famous monarchs and world leaders.This book is definitely worth reading as you could never imagine, how much historical information, isn't quite as you thought! Brilliant read!
  •     This wasn't a quickie tabloid book about famous people. It actually clears up the myth of Lady Godiva. She was actually a politically respected person. There are stories about the ill-effects of in-breeding among royals. There were stories of historical figures that I didn't know, that I learned about for the first time.It was an easy read loaded with history.
  •     I admit, the tale featured in the title is what drew my interest to this book originally. Then I read the quotes and the different section titles like "cruel chronicles" and...
  •     This is just another book of facts to add to my collection of useless and nonsense facts book collection. A great coffee table book or something to read in the bathroom.
  •     Whether or not you are a history buff this book is compelling. Read about how Bluetooth got its name, what was the 'wind trade' and 'coffin ship'. There is plenty to interest everyone: past royalty; Popes; the crusades; both ghoulish and unusual; amusing and serious. An enjoyable read full of fascinating tidbits!

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