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July 06 , 2008

Loose Cannons: 101 Myths, Mishaps and Misadventurers of Military History


The relief of which besieged 19th-century British General put Thomas Cook Travel on the map? Was Hitler really a mono-testicular vegetarian obsessed by the occult? How effective was the CIA's scheme to infiltrate cats with listening devices into the Kremlin? Did Khrushchev really tell the West in 1956 'We will bury you'? Was Napoleon really shorter than average, and did he die 'prematurely' as it was forecast would happen?

The Hurricane not the Spitfire was the champion of the Battle of Britain; Singapore did not fall because all the guns were pointing the wrong way; there was no 'Boston Massacre'; the American Civil War was nothing to do with slavery and the so-called Bixby Letter a forgery; the German were quite right to sink Lusitania; Rasputin was more trouble dead than alive; and no one actually signed America's Declaration of Independence as it was never called this.

Who tried to bomb Japan with bats; and what did author Nevil Shute have to do with the extraordinarily named weapon, the Grand Panjandrum? Who invented the air-gun in 250BC? How did Pavlov's experiments end up with hungry dogs forcing several divisions of World War II Russian tanks into a frantic retreat? And who set loose the hogs of war?

These and many more misconceptions of the military kind are explored in this entertaining look at misquotes, military mishaps and long held myths we often believe without question.

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