Title: Inventors & Impostors
Author: Daniel Diehl & Mark P. Donnelly
Genre: Historical Non-Fiction/Inventions
Length: 236 pages
Release Date: May 1st, 2015
SYNOPSIS: What if everything you learned in school about the heroes of science, technology and invention was a lie?
What if Tom Edison didn’t invent the lightbulb? What if the Wright brothers weren’t the first men to fly? What if Marconi didn’t invent the radio, or Watt the steam engine, or Bell the telephone, or Henry ford the production line? What if Columbus didn’t really discover America, or Darwin the concept of evolution, or Watson and Crick the existence of DNA?
Well, brace yourself, because none of these people did what the history books credit them with having done. Were they all thieves and liars? Was it all a huge mistake? Was it some gigantic conspiracy? How did all these people become famous for things they didn’t do?
In fourteen gripping, true stories Daniel Diehl and Mark P. Donnelly dig deep into the past and lay bare the facts about who really invented what and why somebody else got the glory.
This is historical fact that reads like the best fiction – easy to read and impossible to put down.
There is an oft quoted truism that non-fiction writers, like teachers, collect more information than they can possibly pass on to their audience. Never was that more the case than when we started to write our latest release ‘Inventors & Impostors: A Sordid History of Invention and Imitation’.
When we decided to write a book about the largely unknown inventors whose names have been overshadowed by those who followed in their footsteps, we thought it was a grand, fun idea. We also thought that as historians with some little experience in the field, the project would be amazingly easy; a real breeze. Just goes to show how wrong you can be. Every piece of research led to another, and that one to yet another, and so on. We simply had no idea how many commonplace things that we not only take for granted, but assume we know something about the development of, are actually the result of years, decades and sometimes centuries of one 'inventor' after another building on, and sometimes blatantly co-opting, the ideas of other people. Many of the items that we assumed were either eighteenth or nineteenth century in origin turned out to stretch back many centuries, in some cases more than two thousand years. Even more astounding was the geographic scope of these improbable chains of invention; things which may have originally been discovered or invented in one nation, only to be lost and forgotten, would later be rediscovered thousands of miles away in a different nation and under entirely different circumstances. Just as often, credit for inventions were simply stolen from their originator by an unscrupulous – and far less qualified – individual who then claimed credit for another person’s work.
Much of what you will read in Inventors & Impostors may strike you as astounding, if not outright unbelievable. Some of the people we have all been raised to believe were clever, if not brilliant, heroes of science, invention and discovery were, in fact, little better than self-promoting pirates. Certainly this is not true in every instance, but it is often enough the case to undermine our confidence in much of what we have been taught over the course of our time in public school.
Consequently, the information contained in these pages will probably never make it into textbooks or popular history books, but the same can be said for so much of life. The truth is often just too embarrassing to become common knowledge. Still, as newspaper reporters say when defending their intrusive way of poking their noses into people's private lives: “the public has a right to know”.
This book may cause some controversy, it may raise some readers' ire; and that is not always a bad thing, at least if it occurs as the result of an honest search for the truth. But most of all, we hope you enjoy reading it and, with a little luck, come away with a better understanding of the way in which many of the modern wonders which we all take for granted really came into existence.
Dan Diehl & Mark Donnelly
AUTHOR INFORMATION & LINKS
Daniel Diehl has been an author, writer and investigative historian for thirty-five years. For nearly twenty years Diehl has been involved in writing for publication and documentary television production. Mr. Diehl’s work has won awards from the Houston (Texas) Film Festival, the National Trust for Historic Preservation (US) and the City of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Arts Foundation. Working alone and as a part of the multi-award winning team of Daniel Diehl and Mark Donnelly, Diehl has produced work in two main categories; trade publication and television documentary scripts. His canon of work includes twenty non-fiction books (which have been translated into ten foreign languages), one previous work of fiction and scripts for more than one hundred and seventy hours of documentary television primarily for A&E Network, The History Channel, History International, Biography Channel and Discovery Network.
Mark P. Donnelly is an historian, author, screenwriter, duelist, bon vivant, and constant gentleman. He has authored, co-authored or ghost written over 20 titles in several countries and has scripted and/or produced nearly 200 hours of historical television programming. He can frequently be found traveling throughout the north-eastern US giving lectures and presentations at themed events as well as teaching historical swordsmanship and western martial arts. He currently resides in central Pennsylvania where he enjoys life with his wife and family.
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