Famous Phonies: Legends, Fakes, and Frauds Who Changed History


What I Thought:
This was an interesting book to read. There were lots of things I liked about it, and some I didn’t. The book takes a look at various famous (and some lesser known, but important) people and legends from history. It then exposes the false ideas and misconceptions we have about these people.

On the positive side, the author has a sarcastic, humorous “voice” that makes the book fun to read. There are also several lesser known legends that I found interesting and I liked learning about them. The book is well researched, easy to read, and interesting enough to keep the intended audience (kids ages 8-12) interested.

On the down side, I didn’t agree with the assessment of many of the historical figures.  The sarcastic “voice” that made the book so fun to read also reduced these legends into bumbling knuckleheads that happened to trip into fame, fortune, or power.  I have a difficult time believing they were as clueless as they are presented in this book.

Obviously, I have mixed thoughts on the book. I think kids will like it. It’s informative and fun to read, but I’m not completely sold.

Content: clean

Source: I received a digital galley of this book in exchange for an honest review.


About the Book:

  • Author: Brianna Dumont
  • Age Range: 10 – 14 years
  • Grade Level: 4 – 9
  • Series: The Changed History Series
  • Hardcover: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Sky Pony Press (November 4, 2014)
  • Genre: Nonfiction


Fakes, frauds, and phonies. Sounds like a book filled with criminals and delinquents, doesn’t it? Well, it’s not. Some of the biggest names in history can be found between these pages—and the light isn’t flattering. (We’re looking at you, George “I must not tell a lie” Washington.) Famous Phonies: Legends, Fakes, and Frauds Who Changed History is the first book in a new nonfiction middle grade series that will explore the underbelly of history, making you question everything you thought you knew about history’s finest. Follow the fake lives of these twelve history-changers to uncover the fabrications of the famous, and the should-be-famous!

Famous “Phonies”:
Confucius • George Washington • Pythagoras • Hiawatha • Gilgamesh • Major William Martin • William Shakespeare • Pope Joan • Homer • Prester John • Huangdi • The Turk

Find the Book:

About the Author:

Brianna DuMont is a self-proclaimed history buff with a degree in art history and archaeology as well as classics. She has traveled extensively in search of great museums and historical sites to visit. When she is home, she is an independent historian and full-time writer who is quickly becoming best friends with her local librarian. She lives in Chicago, Illinois.

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