The Pedant's Revolt

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Irreverent, smart, and obscenely entertaining, this book shatters the myths, misconceptions, fallacies, and falsehoods about all the things people think they know 

Lead pencils can give you lead poisoning . . .

Newton discovered gravity when an apple fell on his head . . .

One dog year equals seven human years . . .

Marie Antoinette said “Let them eat cake!” . . . Fact or fiction? 

Pedants, revolt! In chapters literary, medical, grammatical, historical, scientific, and biblical, this book sets the record straight on the facts behind the fallacies that have somehow become accepted wisdom. From insects to food, grooming to Greeks, the animal kingdom to assassinations, Harpo Marx to Shakespeare, and questionable quotes such as “It’s all Greek to me,” this remarkable book reveals the often surprising origins of the legends and folklore we mistake for the gospel truth—and teaches you to think twice before repeating them. Covering a range of diverse topics, this is the ultimate go-to book for settling many an unresolved dispute, shedding light on a wide variety of facts that we have always believed to be true, but which are, in fact, completely false.


Andrea Barham is an author and freelance technical writer.


"There's an awful lot of nonsense that is accepted as fact and this book . . . goes at least part of the way to putting it right. It's informative, interesting and amusing—and it will help you settle arguments."  —Times