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Publisher's Summary

Adapted from Decoded, Meltzer's hit show on the History network, History Decoded explores many fascinating and unexplained questions.

Is Fort Knox empty? Why was Hitler so intent on capturing the Roman "Spear of Destiny"? What's the government hiding in Area 51? Where did the Confederacy's $19 million in gold and silver go at the end of the Civil War? And did Lee Harvey Oswald really act alone?

Meltzer sifts through the evidence; weighs competing theories; separates what we know to be true with what's still - and perhaps forever - unproven; and in the end, decodes the mysteries, arriving at the most likely solution. Along the way we meet Freemasons, Rosicrucians, Nazi propagandists, and the real DB Cooper.

©2013 Original material by A&E Television Networks, LLC. Recorded by arrangement with Workman Publishing Company, Inc. (P)2013 HighBridge Company

Critic Reviews

"Sure to keep readers enthralled and conspiracy theorists encouraged to continue to dig for the truth." (Publishers Weekly)

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  • Ted
  • Menifee, CA, United States
  • 02-27-14

Not so much history

I assumed from the title and description that I would be hearing an analysis of historic events delivered by a scholar. I was disappointed to learn that it was instead a dramatic presentation of conspiracy theories. If you buy grocery store tabloids you might like this. If you enjoy serious historic accounts, give this one a miss.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • debbie
  • seguin, TX, United States
  • 11-03-13

I would rate as just OK!

The book was an OK read , but we really don't learn an answers. It was interesting but still felt like something was just lacking. Not worth a credit.

15 of 17 people found this review helpful

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  • Andy
  • Westport, CT, United States
  • 01-25-14

entertaining, but not much substance

Great narrator, but when I got to the point in the book where the issue was "is there gold in Fort Knox?," I felt as if I was listening to a ridiculous story. Then, when I learned that Batman's cape was inspired by Leonardo DaVinci, I almost just deleted the book. Nonetheless, I made it to the last "conspiracy," which was a rehash of JFK assassination

14 of 16 people found this review helpful

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Not worth it.... nothing new poor reader

Poor narrator and even dumber theories. It was like listening to a TV show minus the commercials.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Dean
  • San Francisco, CA, United States
  • 11-04-13

Slightly Entertaining, Ultimately Disappointing

This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

People who know little about "popular" conspiracy theory. It might serve well as introductory entertainment, but is unfortunately a bit too patronizing and annoyingly "populist" in tone. Admittedly, when I purchased this title I didn't realize that the author is a TV personality. That's exactly how he comes across, here. The chapters on the cornerstone of the White House and Lincoln's assassin are actually quite good; the chapter on JFK frustratingly rife with errors.

What could Keith Ferrell and Brad Meltzer have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

Less egotistical-sounding "what if I told you..." nonsense. More consideration of why people want to believe alternative accounts of history.

Did the narration match the pace of the story?

Yes, the narrator did a fine job but the author's tone is populist in a "for the masses" way that IMO is to the detriment of the narration.

You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

It was entertaining enough that I didn't feel like it was a total waste of time. I listened to it while doing housework, so in fairness it was a decent mental distraction.

Any additional comments?

Recommended alternative: "United States of Paranoia" by Jesse Walker.

15 of 18 people found this review helpful

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If you've seen the TV shows, don't bother with the book. It's the same stuff. Meltzer approaches several mysterious occurrences but doesn't solve either of them, leaving the reader/viewer wondering why? Oh, another why...why did he not narrate the book himself; instead of hiring Scott Brick to do it. Meltzer would have been more effective. It was an interesting diversion, but I'll not be sucked into another Meltzer book.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Not impressed

What disappointed you about History Decoded?

Anyone that can Google has nothing to learn with this book.

What could Keith Ferrell and Brad Meltzer have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

Change their writing style.

How could the performance have been better?

Normally I enjoy Scott Brick but the material provided made him unlikable

6 of 8 people found this review helpful

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What would have made History Decoded better?

If it hadn't been published

What was most disappointing about Keith Ferrell and Brad Meltzer ’s story?

Inaccurate, imprecise cobbled together claptrap. Researched more poorly than an eighth grader's plagiarized book report.

What didn’t you like about Scott Brick’s performance?

Overreaching, melodramatic and wholly predictable.

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?


Any additional comments?

This was presented to me as a $3something "special" from Audible and know I know clearly why. I will definitely avoid Audible "specials" in the future.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Clydene
  • San Diego, California
  • 10-28-13

Great Book - Fun and Informative

History Decoded: The Ten Greatest Conspiracies of All Time is a great little book. It is quick and very detailed about Ten Conspiracies that are the foundation of the history of American.

I loved every aspect of the book from the lack of John Wilkes Booth conspiracy to what is stored at Fort Knox to the Spear of Destiny (once owned by Heinrich Himmler-one of the authors of the "final solution" the Nazis used to justify what we now call the Holocaust.

Makes me want to buy a shovel and a submarine and learn how ot extract DNA.

This is the ideal holiday gift for any history fan.

Bonus: It is excellently narrated by Scott Brick!

I wish I could give this book more than 5 Stars.

6 of 9 people found this review helpful

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  • Amy
  • Hyde Park, Morocco
  • 11-15-13


This is for any one who loves Brad and/or his show. Mystery enthusiasts, conspiracy will love this book! So many interesting mysteries of era's past well researched by the author. He is very honest about his opinion, facts, and theories. Unsolved mysteries are left to the readers discretion, and solved mysteries are so much fun!

2 of 3 people found this review helpful