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The stories we tell about our past matter. But those stories have been shaped by prejudice, hoaxes and misinterpretations that have whitewashed entire chapters of history, erased women and invented civilisations. Today history is often used to justify xenophobia, nationalism and inequality as we cling to grand origin stories and heroic tales of extraordinary men. Exploring myths, mysteries and misconceptions about the past – from the legacies of figures like Pythagoras and Christopher Columbus, to the realities of life in the gun-toting Wild West, to the archaeological digs that have upset our understanding of the birth of civilisation – David Mountain reveals how ongoing revolutions in history and archaeology are shedding light on the truth. Full of adventures, and based on detailed research and interviews, Past Mistakes will make you reconsider your understanding of history – and of the world today. From the fall of Rome to the rise of the Wild West, David Mountain brings colour and perspective to historical mythmaking.

About the Author

David Mountain is a writer based in Edinburgh. After studying biology and geology at the University of Bristol he became a scientific editor at an environmental NGO, working - somewhat to his own surprise - in the savannahs of central Kenya and the gardens of suburban Java to tackle the pressing environmental problem of invasive species. He has since studied the politics of nationalism at the University of Edinburgh, and has devoted more time to exploring, and writing about, the past. He is fascinated and infuriated in equal measure by history, politics and philosophy, and can t resist pointing out the flaws and contradictions in how we think we understand the world.

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