Summer Reading: Tell Me What You Want to Believe and I Will Tell What You Will Believe

imageEdward Steers Jr. is the author of a new book (The University Press of Kentucky, March 7, 2013)   Hoax: Hitler’s Diaries, Lincoln’s Assassins, and Other Famous Frauds. With a forward by Joe Nickell, the book is available with a hardcover for $22.23 or as a Kindle e-book for $13.72 from Amazon.

The publisher’s description at Amazon is as follows:

Did a collector with a knack for making sensational discoveries really find the first document ever printed in America? Did Adolf Hitler actually pen a revealing multivolume set of diaries? Has Jesus of Nazareth’s burial cloth survived the ages? Can the shocking true account of Abraham Lincoln’s assassination be found in lost pages from his murderer’s diary?

Napoleon famously observed that "history is a set of lies agreed upon," and Edward Steers Jr. investigates six of the most amazing frauds ever to gain wide acceptance in this engrossing book. Hoax examines the legitimacy of the Shroud of Turin, perhaps the most hotly debated relic in all of Christianity, and the fossils purported to confirm humanity’s "missing link," the Piltdown Man. Steers also discusses two remarkable forgeries, the Hitler diaries and the "Oath of a Freeman," and famous conspiracy theories alleging that Franklin D. Roosevelt had prior knowledge of the planned attack on Pearl Harbor and that the details of Lincoln’s assassination are recorded in missing pages from John Wilkes Booth’s journal. (bold emphasis mine)

Two days ago. Steers summarized his view on the shroud in the Huffington Post:

Chapter Title: Tell Me What You Want to Believe and I will Tell You What You Will Believe

To believers, the Shroud of Turin is the authentic burial cloth that covered the body of Jesus Christ following his resurrection. To skeptics it is a fourteenth century artistic creation used to attract pilgrims and their money. Controversy abounds this sacred piece of cloth, coining it one of the most hotly debated relics in all of Christianity. First put on public display in 1357, it immediately began to draw large crowds of worshipers and skeptics alike. The shroud boasts an image of a man bearing all characteristics of someone who was crucified, which serves as undeniable evidence of authenticity for advocates. Of course, this image should be convincing if it were the creation of medieval artists wanting to persuade pilgrims it was the burial cloth of Jesus. Though modern science with its sophisticated technology would seem to set the record straight, the Shroud of Turin still often embraced as genuine—proof that no amount of evidence can overcome faith.

Here is the table of contents from Google Books. It looks interesting.

Foreword

Introduction: “Snap, Crackle, and Pop”

1. Oath of a Freeman: The King of Forgers

2. Pearl Harbor: Treachery in the Oval Office?

3. Hah Hitler! The Hitler Diaries

4. The Shroud of Turin: Tell Me What You Want to Believe and I Will Tell What You Will Believe

5. Skullduggery: The Man Who Never Was

6. The Missing Pages from John Wilkes Booth’s Diary

This book really came out quietly; no press releases that I saw. Editorial reviews are from the editor of the Lincoln Herald, the Executive Director of the Lehigh Valley Heritage Museum and Miles Russell, (we are guessing) who is the author of several books including a couple on the Piltdown Man hoax. I have not seen any online mention in Skeptical Inquirer.

One thought on “Summer Reading: Tell Me What You Want to Believe and I Will Tell What You Will Believe”

  1. Even If the shroud is not authentic there is no evidence it is a fraud. It could merely have been a devotional work of art.

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