Forging History: The Detection of Fake Letters and Documents

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Forging History: The Detection of Fake Letters and Documents

Kenneth W. Rendell, "Forging History: The Detection of Fake Letters and Documents"
English | ISBN: 0806126361 | 1994 | EPUB | 171 pages | 12 MB

Focusing on three of the most skilful and notorious forgeries of modern times, Kenneth W. Rendell demonstrates that the authentication of historical documents and letters depends on analysis rather than intuition. Rendell begins by showing the reader paired examples of writing of historical figures (such as George Washington, Richard Wagner and Calvin Coolidge) and then demonstrating which of each pair is genuine and which forged. Building the reader's confidence in his method, Rendell then presents four extremely well-executed forgeries from the past, ostensibly written by Benjamin Franklin, Abraham Lincoln, George Washington and Robert Burns, approaching each from a different technical viewpoint. When compared with genuine examples, however, their flaws are immediately apparent. The book culminates in an analysis of three major forgeries of recent times - the Hitler diaries, the Mormon letters, and the Jack the Ripper diary. Mixing technical details with anecdotes based on his own involvement in the investigation of each document, Rendell discusses the psychological reasons that the forgeries succeeded for as long as they did.

Virtually since the beginning of writing, people have created forgeries, sometimes in an attempt to change history and sometimes for financial gain. The latter type, Rendell claims, usually is far more sophisticated technically, but an expert can prove conclusively, and demonstrate, that a historical document is either genuine or forged. Rendell's study should be of interest to rare-document dealers and collectors, historians, librarians and general readers interested in his rational approach to a fascinating, universal form of deception.

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Tags: Forging, History, Detection, Letters, Documents

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