A Colossal Hoax: The Giant from Cardiff That Fooled America

Scott Tribble, Author Rowman & Littlefield Publishers $42.95 (311p) ISBN 978-0-7425-6050-5
When a ten-foot figure was unearthed in the small town of Cardiff, New York in 1869, it caused a sensation that drew-and fooled-thousands over the ensuing years through the efforts of some dedicated hucksters, foremost the ""small time swindler"" George Hull. Author Tribble, unfortunately, manages to squeeze any sense of wonder and excitement from the story with a bloated, overwrought account that follows every digression it can. The spectacle meant many things to many people, and consequently gives Tribble plenty of opportunity to stray from the narrative: the foundation and rise of Mormonism, the Age of Enlightenment and Romanticism, and the story of every minor character in the way. Pared down, an interesting story can be found in the efforts Hull and his co-conspirators went through to create, conceal and profit from their elaborate hoax; unfortunately, Tribble's mighty effort to tie the waning century's shifting values together in a single sideshow collapses under its own weight.
Reviewed on: 12/15/2008
Release date: 12/01/2008
Paperback - 311 pages - 978-0-7425-6051-2
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