Unsolved Mysteries of History: An Eye Opening...

Editor's Choice

September 30, 2001|By Michael Pakenham

Unsolved Mysteries of History: An Eye Opening Investigation into the Most Baffling Events of All Time, by Paul Aron (John Wiley & Sons, 225 pages, $14.95)

Anecdotal, by definition, this provocative little volume contains 25 chapters of six to a dozen pages, each devoted to a "mystery" -- an event, a process or a phenomenon that remains in doubt despite wide interest. Subjects range from "Who Built Stonehenge?" through "Why Did Mayan Civilization Collapse?" and "Who Was King Arthur" to "Was Gorbachev Part of the August Coup?" Aron is a journalist, not an historian, and writes with easily digestible clarity and precision. This book does not pretend to be original or definitive research, but draws intelligently and entertainingly on respected -- and disputed -- primary volumes. Each chapter ends with a bibliography of the subject, noting in many cases the most effective way for a reader to follow up with deep reading. Reading a chapter aloud to a group would almost guarantee a lively evening.

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