Friday, May 09, 2008

Still processing this news story

From The Guardian: "The 29 fakes behind the rewriting of history."

8 comments:

Teacher Lady said...

Had you heard of this book? Or are you shocked that someone would do this?
Not being a historian, I still know the book contradicts a tonne of now declassified documents from WWII. I trust these documents to be true since I know and trust* was there when it all happened. Since I could figure out something is wrong, I'm sure the book sent huge warning bells that something wasn't right to those who know more that I.

*My grandma's cousin was a secretary in Winston Churchill's secret bunker. She was interviewed for a documentary a couple years ago. Coolest old lady ever. She might be coming to visit in a couple months.
Man, this was a long comment.

Queen of West Procrastination said...

There had been three books published, and they were based in a bunch of documentary "evidence" that turned out to be not only forged, but planted in various files in the British National Archives. And not only planted in the British Archives, but it looks like they were planted by the historian. I hadn't really heard about these books before myself, but they really are tied up in the popular "former King Edward was a Nazi spy" mythology that I'm continually running across.

Having processed the news article, I'm pretty sure that what shocked me the most is this: how jaded do you have to be about history as a whole, that you actually think it will help your case to forge your evidence? I guess most of it is tied up in the hope for money and prestige, but it still is weird for me to hear that someone would actually do this. And that security would have to be beefed up, not for fear of stealing, but for fear of unscrupulous researchers faking their findings.

Teacher Lady said...

Faking results happens in science too.
Funny how both of our comments are longer than the post.

Queen of West Procrastination said...

I know that faking results happens in science all the time, but not nearly as much in history. Well, Piltdown man. And I think there has been a few other hoaxes involving Hitler.

And the act of deliberately planting forgeries in an archive -- that's what's getting me.

Queen of West Procrastination said...

Chris says that this is equivalent to the Cold Fusion Scandal of the 1980s -- no one fully believed it, but at the same time, if it was right, it would have had huge implications. And the fact that it was a hoax was even worse.

Teacher Lady said...

My point really was that it happens in all fields of research. Some people are more concerned with the prestige than the truth (or rather admitting they were wrong).

Ky said...

This reminds me of an episode of Monarch of the Glen when a life-long Loch Monster scientist faked results so that he could get the funding to do more research.
But instead of putting up extra security around the lakes, I think they just forgave him and gave him a hug. That's how things roll in Glenbogle, and that's why I like it.
Hugs all around!

Queen of West Procrastination said...

And again: this isn't exactly faking results, and it works differently than in the sciences. It's more than fudging numbers. It's forging letters from Hitler and stuff.