Cover image for Unsolved mysteries of American history : an eye-opening journey through 500 years of discoveries, disappearances, and baffling events
Unsolved mysteries of American history : an eye-opening journey through 500 years of discoveries, disappearances, and baffling events
Aron, Paul, 1956-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : J. Wiley, [1997]

Physical Description:
xii, 225 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
E179 .A75 1997 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
E179 .A75 1997 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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"A lively tour through our past and an ingenious primer in the art of historical detection." --Robert A. Gross, author of The Minutemen and Their World

Did Leif Ericsson beat Columbus to America? What happened to the Lost Colony of Roanoke? Did Pocahontas really save John Smith? Did Davy Crockett die at the Alamo? What really happened to Amelia Earhart, and was she a spy? Who killed JFK?

Unsolved Mysteries of American History re-creates the most mystifying events of our past, following some of our greatest historians as they search for the elusive answers. Spanning more than five centuries--from Leif Ericsson and Columbus through Watergate and Iran-Contra--Aron makes sense of all the latest discoveries and speculations. Here is everything you could ever want from a detective story: dramatic twists and turns, intellectual challenges, frustrating dead-ends, murderous mayhem, and thrilling espionage.

"Stimulating and pleasurable, fair and objective . . . recommended for both the history buff and the fan of true-life mysteries."--Kirkus Reviews

"Everyone loves a mystery and a history mystery best of all. Aron has assembled an impressive array of 'whodunits.'" --Ivor Noel Hume, former director, Department of Archaeology, Colonial Williamsburg author of The Virginia Adventure

"A welcome gateway for historical exploration." --Booklist

"Aron performs something of a minor miracle: He zeroes in on the very core of historical mysteries and provides new insights for reconsidering mystifying events." --Allan W. Eckert, author of Sorrow in Our Heart

Author Notes

PAUL ARON is a reporter for the Virginia Gazette. He was previously editorial director at Leo Douglas Publishers, executive editor at Simon & Schuster, and an editor at Anchor Press/Doubleday. Mr. Aron lives in Williamsburg, Virginia.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

In all-too-brief articles on some of the most controversial details in American history, Aron clearly presents the facts of historic things ranging chronologically from Columbus' landing place to Reagan's knowledge of Iran-Contra, with stops along the way at Jefferson's putative affair with Sally Hemings, Davy Crockett's death at the Alamo, the Sacco and Vanzetti case, and other contested phenomena. Somewhat like but deeper academically than Davis' Don't Know Much about History (1990) and its sequels, Aron's book covers not just each particular case itself but also the history of the controversy surrounding it, the current scholarship dealing with it, and a useful selection of resources for further investigation. He has no ax to grind over any of his mysteries and presents all sides of their issues. A welcome gateway for historical exploration. --Dennis Winters

Library Journal Review

Aron, a reporter for the Virginia Gazette, presents here his findings on significant "mysteries" of America's past. He briefly examines 30 controversial questions in chronological order, ranging from "When did the first people arrive in America?" to "What did Reagan know about Iran-contra?" Though he does not claim to provide definitive answers, he offers evidence for both sides of every issue. Each chapter ends with a bibliography. Perhaps the most interesting question tackled is "How did Davy Crockett die?"; Aron strongly suggests that Crockett surrendered at the Alamo rather than fighting to his death there. The author's simple, straightforward style is suitable for junior-high level and above. This volume is comparable to Richard Shenkman's Legends, Lies, and Cherished Myths of American History (Morrow, 1988). Recommended for public libraries.‘Norman Malwitz, Queens Borough P.L., Great Neck, N.Y. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

When Did the First People Arrive in America?
Did Leif Ericsson Discover America?
Why Did the Anasazi Abandon Their Cities?
Where Did Columbus Land?
How Did Cortes Conquer the Aztecs?
What Happened to the Lost Colony of Roanoke?
Did Pocahontas Save John Smith?
What Caused the Salem Witch-Hunt?
Was Daniel Boone a Traitor?
Why Did Benedict Arnold Turn Traitor?
Was Sally Hemings the Mistress of Thomas Jefferson?
Was Meriwether Lewis Murdered?
Was Rachel Jackson a Bigamist?
How Did Davy Crockett Die?
Why Did Lee Order Pickett's Charge?
Who Was to Blame for Wounded Knee?
What Destroyed the Maine?
Were Sacco and Vanzetti Guilty?
Who Kidnapped the Lindbergh Baby?
Did Babe Ruth Call His Shot?
Was Amelia Earhart a Spy?
Who Was to Blame for Pearl Harbor?
Why Did Truman Drop the Bomb?
Were the Rosenbergs Guilty?
Who Killed JFK?
What Happened at the Gulf of Tonkin?
Who Killed Malcolm X?
Who Was to Blame for the Kent State Killings?
What Did Nixon Know About Watergate?
What Did Reagan Know About Iran-Contra?