Story Review: I first heard of Brad Meltzer on the Glenn Beck radio show. Later, when we were able to get the History Channel, I enjoyed watching several of Brad Meltzer’s Decoded shows. I’ve seen several other different programs on tv that explore various conspiracy theories, but Brad Meltzer’s are the best mainly because they don’t usually go off the deep end when it comes to the wild claims people make. I learned that Decoded had a recent book out, but when I saw it at my local library on audiobook I decided to check out that version instead.
Brad Meltzer writes in a unique, conversational, one-on-one style with the reader. Again, I appreciate his logical approach to exploring conspiracies instead of buying everything that comes down the pike (okay… barring the chapter on UFO’s). You can sense the enjoyment he gets out of learning about theories. I love the point he makes that it’s healthy for people to question things, instead of taking everything for granted because somebody said so. Meltzer lays all the different angles to the different theories out before the reader for you to make your own conclusions, something else I enjoyed.
This book tackles 10 popular conspiracy theories, most of them from American history, but a few international ones as well. Some of them I had never heard of before, others I skipped over either because I wasn’t interested in them, or because I’d already seen the Decoded tv show on it. Actually, the book is taken from the information gleaned from the show itself, so if you’re an avid fan of the series you won’t find anything new or earth shattering from the book.
Truthfully, I want to go ahead and check the book version out soon so I can look at the pictures referred to in the text. In the audio version, photographs and figures are mentioned, but there is no way to see them. This is one drawback to an audiobook. I understand there are a lot of really neat maps, pull out charts, etc. in the hard copy.
My favorite theory had to have been the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. I had never heard that John Wilkes Booth could possibly have lived years after killing the president. If you’re a lover of history, I think you’ll enjoy hearing new angles on it.
Thoughts on the Narrator: Slay me now, but for all my hype on audio, audiobooks, reading aloud, etc., I am not an avid audiobook listener. I don’t really know why this is. I know I can easily get distracted and annoyed with different narrators’ reading styles. I didn’t realize until after I’d finished the book who the narrator was, but I immediately loved his reading! I mean, this guy did everything right! His voice is smooth, includes delicious pronunciation, has great nuances in his voice, the tension, ups, downs… Drawing you in, stopping you dead in your tracks, taking you up to heights, then bringing you back to earth with a jolt. 🙂 Just great! Duh. I should have known it was… Scott Brick.
Scott Brick reads this nonfiction book as though he were the author Brad Meltzer himself, which is just the way one should read nonfiction. He engages the listener and reads with passion. So much so that when my mom came into the room and heard a snatch of it, she asked, “Is that the author reading that himself?” Now I’m hooked on Brick and want to hear more. Sigh~ I can only hope to aspire to his talent.
You can watch many of Brad Meltzer’s Decoded episodes (some of which are included in the book) for free here.