Schroeder, Andreas. Scams! (True Stories from the Edge). Annick Press, 2004. ISBN 978-1550378535 160 pp. $
Some of the biggest scams of all time are presented here in engaging narrative, each story more outrageous than the last. Learn about the discovery of a fake “lost” tribe that even National Geographic believed, the initial radio broadcast of H.G. Wells’ War of the Worlds and the subsequent broadcast that still causes riots today, a book collector who evaded debtors and sold out his family to feed his obsession, and more.
Highly browsable, this is an especially appealing book for reluctant readers. Kids will be fascinated to read about stories in which adults get the wool pulled over their eyes, and will learn something about little known events in history in the process. Sure to be a hit with readers who favor books on UFO’s, the occult, or Ripley’s “believe it not” type tales, the sturdy paperback is very reasonably priced and sure to be a hit. Students learning about the Holocaust may find the chapter about the Nazi counterfeit operation of particular interest.
A sources appendix offers sources for further reading, many from very dated books and articles. Because one chapter note only lists one internet source, this reviewer can’t help thinking how funny it would be if one of the scams was made up.