Stranger Than Fiction II


Book: Stranger Than Fiction II

Author: Martin Walsh

Publisher: Scholastic Inc., 1978

ISBN-13: 978-0590415750

ISBN-10: 0590415751

Language level:  1

(1=nothing objectionable; 2=common euphemisms and/or childish slang terms; 3=some cursing and/or profanity; 4=a lot of cursing and/or profanity; 5=obscenity and/or vulgarity)

Recommended reading level: Probably for ages 8-12

Rating: *** 3 stars

(5 stars=EXCELLENT; 4 stars=GOOD; 3 stars=FAIR; 2 stars=POOR; 1 star=VERY POOR; no stars=NOT RECOMMENDED)

Category: Youth non-fiction

Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker

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     Walsh,Martin. Stranger Than Fiction II (Published in 1978 by Scholastic Book Services, a division of Scholastic Magazines Inc., 50 W. 44th St., New York City, NY  10036).  It seems impossible, but did you know that in 1977, the human spider, George Willig, climbed 110 stories straight up the side of the World Trade Center in New York City?  This and nine other amazing tales where it is claimed that truth is stranger than fiction are related in this book.  In the first two chapters, the author seems to give a great deal of credence to Jean Dixon’s supposed prophecy about the assassination of President John F. Kennedy and to Erich Von Daniken’s fanciful theory that aliens from outer space helped build the Egyptian pyramids and other ancient monuments.  

     Some of the stories are rather dated, like the one about the killer bees.  I can remember all the hype of the 1970s that the killer bees would come north from South America and bring death and devastation to the United States.  It turned out to be a big “ho hum.”  The one on killer sharks drew upon the sensationalism of the movie Jaws, but while attacks a shark can be very dangerous and even fatal, the author admits that “more people are killed by bee stings and lightning each hear than by shark attacks.”  Also the shark chapter avers that the “shark’s body is a remarkable product of millions of years of evolution.”

     Other tales do present some degree of curiosity, such as the fact that within six years of the opening of King Tutankhamen’s tomb, 22 people who were involved died, some under mysterious circumstances, or are of historical interest, such as the ones about a Japanese soldier who, refusing to believe World War II was over, remained hidden on a Philippine island for thirty years, and the lost Tasaday tribe on another Philippine island.  Author Martin Walsh’s first book of this nature, entitled Stranger Than Fiction: Weird Stories and Ghostly Happenings, was originally published in 1973.

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