History has never been more fun than it is in this fact-filled compendium of historical fiascoes and embarrassingly bad ideas. Throughout history, the rich and powerful, and even just the dim-witted, have made horrifically bad decisions that have had resounding effects on our world. From kings to corporate leaders, from captains to presidents, no one is immune to bad decisions and their lasting legacy. The fiascoes that litter our history are innumerable ... and fascinating in their foolishness. This witty collection of historical mayhem chronicles unwise decisions from ancient Greece to modern-day Hollywood and everything in between. Learn such lessons as: Never trust Greeks bearing gifts of large wooden horses. Avoid building elementary schools on toxic waste dumps, even those with sweet monikers like Love Canal. Rabbits multiply like rabbits Down Under. Even if you use brightly colored paint on the boats, it's quite easy to misplace an entire country's navy. With more than forty-five chapters of mind-boggling flubs and follies, fans of history, trivia, and those who just want a good laugh will adore this intriguing and fun read.
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William Morrow Paperbacks
August 17, 2004
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Excerpt from You Did What? by Bill Fawcett
You Kidnapped Whom?
It takes a lot of effort to make a series of mistakes so great that not only do they destroy your entire civilization but also become the stuff that makes one of the great epics of all times.
The Terrible Choices of the Trojan War
Troy, the Bronze Age
Brian M. Thomsen
Some of the greatest stories in history have their basis in a combination of actual events and legends, where the blurring of the line between the two creates a sense of truly epic storytelling and of heroes larger than life who are nonetheless men (centaurs and gods excluded, of course).
The factual history is unclear. Still, it took some pigheaded stupidity and shortsighted self-indulgence to effectively destroy the leading city of its day.
We know that indeed there was a city named Troy (also known as Ilium), believed to be located on a hill now called Hisarlik in the northwest reaches of Anatolia. However, this might not have been the location of the Troy as depicted in the chronicles of the Trojan War. Archaeological research has chosen a better candidate -- namely, Troy VI, which was destroyed in 1270 -- given the following facts: there are records that show it was in contact with Greece during the hypothetical period of the conflict,Greece was a flourishing yet warlike civilization at the time, and it included as part of its realm Mycenae and other locales actually mentioned in the Homeric records (which is also mentioned in various contemporary corroborating Hittite records).
Thus, when it comes to the facts, we know that there was a city of Troy (which may or may not have been located where we thought it was) and that sometime during the classical age a war took place there, possibly over a dispute concerning control of trade through the Dardanelles.