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Publisher's Summary

More addictive and mind-blowing true tales from history, told by Giles Milton - one of today's most entertaining and accessible yet always intelligent and illuminating historians.

This program is read by the author, the host of the popular podcast Unknown History with Giles Milton.

In When Churchill Slaughtered Sheep and Stalin Robbed a Bank, the second installment in his outrageously entertaining series, History's Unknown Chapters, Giles Milton shows his customary historical flair as he delves into the little-known stories from history, like when Stalin was actually assassinated with poison by one of his inner circle; the Russian scientist, dubbed the "Red Frankenstein", who attempted to produce a human-ape hybrid through ethically dubious means; the family who survived 38 days at sea with almost no water or supplies after their ship was destroyed by a killer whale; and the plot that served as a template for 9/11, in which four Algerian terrorists attempted to hijack a plane and fly it into the Eiffel Tower.

©2016 Giles Milton (P)2016 Macmillan Audio

What members say

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  • Overall
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  • Jean
  • Santa Cruz, CA, United States
  • 11-14-16

Great Trivia Source

This book is a collection of brief tales about little known events in history. For example, it is about an academic paper that claims George III had bipolar disorder; another that Stalin was poisoned. I found the two stories most interesting and they had information that was new to me. The first one was about Witold Pilecki, a reporter, who broke into and out of Auschwitz, but in 1943 no one would believe his reports about the death camp. The other was about Mati Hari and the claims of her innocence.

The book is full of trivia facts, which for a trivia nut like me is great. All the entries are short and easily readable. It is a book that is easy to stop and start.

The author did his own narration.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Another great book by Giles Milton

If you liked "when Hitler took cocaine and Lenin lost his brain" you can just click the buy button. This book is as golden as that.

If you haven't listened to that book, give this a chance anyway. It's golden nuggets of history. Mostly in 1900s and each story is both interesting and the author makes it entertaining with his writing and narration.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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not great

I liked most of the short stories. However maybe it doesn't fully translate to audio book. There were some strange transitions and some of the stories literally had no context or timeframe until the middle of the story. very annoying for me. I also don't understand the order of these stories. It felt like a random hodgepodge. At least give an intro with some organization. Ok if you listen to them out of order or one at a time but all together there seemed to be no theme or criteria for inclusion.

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  • Dave
  • Glenview, IL, United States
  • 02-25-17

Indescribably Delicious

I really loved this book, and I loved the author's other book that had a similar title concept and structure. But when I tried describing it to book-loving friends I found it difficult to convey --- it is really hard to put the things that make these books so incredibly fun and interesting to read over and over again into an elevator speech (and I enjoyed both books as much or more the 2nd time I listened to them, as I'm sure I will the 3rd). Suffice to say that the author finds genuinely fascinating, obscure back-stories behind often well-known events and interesting, often famous people, and tells them in bite-sized chapters that leave you fully sated . . . but still somehow compelled to Google each story to see if there is any more detail out there somewhere.

See? Really hard to explain. But its very easy to recommend it to you if you like history, sociology, or just well-written non-fiction. Or if you, like me, could listen to someone with that refined, melodious British accent for hours and hours on end, simply because they make you feel more refined and intelligent yourself just for the listening. And the fact that the author/narrator's name is Giles Milton -- I mean, seriously, who could resist?

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Another Great collection.

I love these collections of short and interesting stories.
As with the last book, most of the stories were new to me.
Even the few that I was familiar with I learned more than I knew before.
As with the last one, I listened while traveling.
Perfect book for a trip because you can stop between the stories and pick right up at the beginning of a new one when you have a little time.