Historian Pyne explores how the authenticity of eight genuine fakes depends on their unique combinations of history, science, and culture. Drawing from historical archives, interviews, museum exhibits, science fiction as well as her own research, Pyne brings each genuine fake to life through unexpected stories.
... a legitimately fascinating read, well-researched and packed with detail – the sort of book that will surprise and delight the intellectually curious ... Through these examples, Genuine Fakes digs deep into the notion of what is real, what is authentic … and whether it is possible for an object to be one without being the other ... Nonfiction that is both information-dense AND fun to read is rare; Lydia Pyne has given us precisely that...A book like this could easily become bone-dry, a slog of a read. But Pyne maintains an airiness throughout, treating the material with seriousness but never severity. Everything unfolds with a very light touch. The result is a book that is very difficult to put down.
... a very fruitful concept ... The best chapters in Ms. Pyne’s book marry fine scientific explanation with cultural history and surprising twists ... Some of her own examples, however, are less convincing than others ... It might have been more apposite to discuss the rich literary history of pseudonymity.
Pyne provides sufficient context to engage readers, explaining how curators and scientists have been duped in the past, and what they have learned as a result. This slightly off-beat account should be of great interest to collectors, amateur archaeologists, historians, and art connoisseurs.