Author: John Hafnor
Illustrator: Dale Crawford
Publisher: Lone Pine Productions
Genre: History / Trivia
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Strange But True, America is not your typical compilation of “weird” or unusual stories. Many books of this ilk are only interesting if there is some direct connection to the reader. Not so with John Hafnor’s entertaining book of strange tales that highlights each of the 50 states.
The reader will quickly discover that after initially reading the story from their favorite state, any one of the others may be of equal or greater interest. The accounts are not only fascinating but based in historical fact. Hafnor uses only one or two pages to weave each individual tale, but that’s all he needs to fulfill his mission of “selecting the most compelling tale from your home state…and every state.” The vignettes are cleverly supplemented with an illustration by Dale Crawford that neatly augments the narratives.
You can read about an underground mine fire in Pennsylvania that caused almost an entire town to uproot their families and flee their homes. How about the legend of Poker Jim in North Dakota where he “literally dropped in on a game after his death!” Or what could be the connection between “Easy Eddie,” a certain pal of Al Capone, and how O’Hare International Airport got its name?
And when you’re through devouring these, you can turn to the section entitled, Thumbing Through America’s Weird Past, for pages of other little known facts of our country’s history.
The book is an easy and lively read that will appeal to folks of all ages and varying interests. Read it cover to cover or when the mood strikes. Regardless, it will not disappoint.
Reviewer: Gene Berger