History That Reads Like Fiction

Posted on July 31, 2018

by Amy H

Truth is not only stranger than fiction, but often way more exciting as well. There’s something about knowing something really happened that outweighs any outlandish plot or CGI special effects on the big screen.

Take a Look at These Amazing True Stories

“Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI” by David Grann

In the 1920s, some members of the Osage Indian nation in Oklahoma became incredibly wealthy after oil was discovered beneath their land. Then, one by one, members of the tribe began to die under mysterious circumstances and those who dared to investigate the killings were themselves murdered.

The FBI took up the case as one if its first major homicide investigations and turned to a former Texas Ranger named Tom White to unravel the mystery. White put together an undercover team, including one of the only American Indian agents in the bureau. The agents infiltrated the region, struggling to adopt the latest techniques of detection. Together with the Osage they began to expose one of the most chilling conspiracies in American history.

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“The Saboteur: the Aristocrat who Became France’s Most Daring Anti-Nazi Commando” by Paul Kix

A breathtaking biography of Robert de La Rochefoucauld who escaped from Nazi occupied France to train with the British Special Operations, who altered the war in Europe with tactics that earned it notoriety as the “Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare.” La Rochefoucauld returned to France and organized Resistance cells, blew up fortified compounds and munitions factories, and interfered with Germans’ war-time missions. Caught by the Germans, La Rochefoucauld escaped his own death, not once but twice. More than just a fast-paced, true thriller, this is the untold story of a network of commandos that battled evil, bravely worked to change the course of history, and inspired the creation of America’s own Central Intelligence Agency.

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“City of Light, City of Poison: Murder, Magic and the First Police Chief of Paris” by Holly Tucker

Tucker explores the seedy side of late 1600s Paris in this narrative of the city’s first police chief. The book reads like a detective novel, following Nicolas de La Reynie through the criminal underworld and up into the chambers of King Louis XIV. As La Reynie investigates the Sun King’s mistresses for a myriad of nefarious deeds, the reader learns of the inner workings of the court as well as the justice system. The book is a fun mix of royal intrigue, police procedural, and history lesson.

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“The Black Count: Glory, Revolution, Betrayal, and the Real Count of Monte Cristo” by Tom Reiss

General Alex Dumas is a man almost unknown today, yet his story is strikingly familiar—because his son, the novelist Alexandre Dumas, used his father’s larger-than-life feats as inspiration for such classics as “The Count of Monte Cristo” and “The Three Musketeers.” Hidden behind General Dumas’s swashbuckling adventures was an even more incredible story: he was the son of a black slave who rose to command armies at the height of the Revolution—until he met an implacable enemy he could not defeat.

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“Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy: Four Women Undercover in the Civil War” by Karen Abbott

Seventeen-year-old Belle Boyd shot a Union soldier in her home, and became a courier and spy for the Confederate army, using her considerable charms to seduce men on both sides. Emma Edmonds disguised herself as a man to enlist as a Union private, witnessing the bloodiest battles of the war and infiltrating enemy lines. The beautiful widow Rose O’Neal Greenhow engaged in affairs with powerful Northern politicians and used her young daughter to send information to Southern generals. Elizabeth Van Lew, a wealthy Richmond abolitionist, hid behind her proper Southern manners as she orchestrated a far-reaching espionage ring right under the noses of increasingly suspicious rebel detectives. With a cast of real-life characters, including Nathaniel Hawthorne, General Stonewall Jackson, Detective Allan Pinkerton, Abraham and Mary Todd Lincoln, and Emperor Napoléon III, “Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy” shines a dramatic new light on these daring—and, until now, unsung—heroines.

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