The Hunt for History: On the Trail of the World’s Lost Treasures—from the Letters of Lincoln, Churchill, and Einstein to the Secret Recordings Onboard JFK’s Air Force One

Nathan Raab, with Luke Barr. Scribner, $30 (288p) ISBN 978-1-5011-9890-8
Rare documents dealer Raab relates the stories behind his greatest finds in his brisk and entertaining debut. After working in politics and public relations, Raab followed his father into the antiquarian business; in one of his first transactions, he fetched a quarter-million dollars for a collection of Ronald Reagan’s letters. Other high-price articles include a section of the first underground electric cable laid between Thomas Edison’s house and laboratory in Menlo Park, N.J.; the original, unedited recording from Air Force One as JFK’s body was flown from Dallas to Andrews Air Force Base; and the fragments of an 1829 letter from Andrew Jackson to Native American tribal leaders. Raab sketches the historical context of these and other items, describes how they came to his attention, and details the painstaking authentication process. The anecdotes share a similar structure, and they all serve to burnish Raab’s reputation. His genuine love of history radiates from the page, however, and readers will root for people like Robert Johnson, who saved a piece of Amelia Earhart memorabilia from the trash pile. The result is a thoughtful tribute to the art and business of collecting history. (Mar.)
Reviewed on : 12/13/2019
Release date: 03/10/2020
Genre: Nonfiction
Downloadable Audio - 978-1-7971-0487-4
Compact Disc - 978-1-7971-0489-8
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