This engaging audiobook begins by declaring that George Washington was not the first president of the United States and continues to astound from there.
When Michael Kramer, who sounds like a gravelly-voiced Shakespearean actor, states a previously unquestioned "fact", he immediately follows it up with a mirthful "Don’t you believe it!" and proceeds to unravel the fallacious myth. Easily persuaded by Kramer’s deep, authoritative voice, a listener begins to question a trove of information previously assumed to be sacrosanct.
Among dozens of other common errors, author Herb Reich alleges that Cleopatra was not in fact Egyptian and that French fries were not invented in France. School teachers, it turns out, can be wrong.
If you think that witches were burned at Salem, that St. Patrick was Irish, and that George Washington was our first president... don't you believe it! Our cherished culturally shared beliefs stem from a variety of sources, many of which propagate old wives' tales, myths, self-serving fantasies, innocent fallacies, or sheer nonsense. History is replete with stories of great men and events that either never happened or didn’t happen the way we were told they did. Such items are part of our common knowledge. They are taught in schools. They are passed down to us by our families and friends and have become part of shared cultural knowledge, accepted without question. And they are wrong.
Here, Herb Reich explodes 200 myths that you probably accept as fact, including: Jackie Robinson was the first black baseball player in the major leagues. The captain of a ship can perform marriages. Mussolini's trains ran on time. Charles Lindbergh was the first man to fly across the Atlantic Ocean. Baseball was invented by Abner Doubleday in 1839. The Mason-Dixon line was drawn to separate the slave South from the free North. Betsy Ross sewed the first American flag. Cleopatra was Egyptian. Chicago is called "the windy city" because of the gusts off Lake Michigan.
It is a cliche that history is written by the victors. But Don’t You Believe It! will demonstrate that it is also written by teachers, by newsmen, by heirs, by hucksters, and occasionally by someone who has a lousy memory or an axe to grind.
I can not help but observe the idea is a great one, but the items of interest brought so well to my notice are well known by most people I think. Even what could be 'Exclusive' American issues were reasonable well known as errors. But, it was not sold as a great intellectual effort, Just a little to light for me. But I do think many would really enjoy it. Please cut out the "Don't believe it" lead in. After 50 times its very irritating. We know why we have the audiobook.