The Awful Truths: Famous Myths, Hilariously Debunked by Brian Thomsen was a perfect book to start reading before a vacation, because it could easily be left for days at a time without worrying about losing continuity. Each myth only took about four pages. The myths Thomsen debunked were sadly boring to my Canadian education and I didn’t care at all about so much American history. As it turns out I had almost finished the book prior to my recent vacation and ended up finishing it at the start of my travels during the short flight from Copenhagen to Helsinki. I am sorry to say that I didn’t really find any of it all that interesting, and its 246 pages were more of a chore to get through than a pleasure to lap up. Yes, even at only four or so pages per myth, I didn’t enjoy reading about them. It is no wonder my library system withdrew the book since no one took it out in three years. Hilariously debunked? Hardly.
Some of the myths exposed were no secrets: the Birdman of Alcatraz never kept birds at Alcatraz; Fidel Castro was never scouted by any major U.S. baseball team; Abner Doubleday was probably not the Father of Baseball, and so on.
In the myth debunking director George Lucas as a great talent, Thomsen had the foresight to write, in 2006 when this book was published:
“So why do we revere George Lucas as a great filmmaker? Probably for the same reason some people think of Donald Trump as a mover and shaker.
“Celebrity and flash make an impression and win out over substance every time.”