The Giant and How He Humbugged America by Jim Murphy

The Giant and How He Humbugged America

Two-time Newbery Honor Book author has written an amazing account of one of America's most famous hoaxes!When a 10-foot tall purported "petrified man" is unearthed from a backyard in upstate New York in 1869, the discovery immediately turns into a spectacle of epic proportions. News of the giant spreads like wildfire, and well over a thousand people come to view him in the first five days alone!Everyone has their own idea of his true origin: Is h...

Details The Giant and How He Humbugged America

TitleThe Giant and How He Humbugged America
Release DateOct 1st, 2012
PublisherScholastic Press
GenreNonfiction, History, Historical, Childrens, Juvenile

Reviews The Giant and How He Humbugged America

  • Kitty Jay
    The Giant and How He Humbugged America by Jim Murphy tells the extraordinary story of one of the biggest hoaxes in American history. In 1869, a giant stone man was discovered on a farmer's land in Cardiff, New York. Doctors, scientists, and other experts weighed in on the rampant speculation that had taken over as to the giant man's origins. As word spread of the remarkable discovery, the nation was captivated by the giant's existence. However, t...
  • Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
    I wanted to read this book because I knew the Cardiff Giant incident took place in 19th-century New York State. I had no idea that Cardiff is actually located so close to where I live! Jim Murphy does a wonderful job of telling the day-by-day story of how this giant "petrified man" was found and exploited by the various people involved (see the cast of characters at the beginning of the book). The whole incident took place between October 1869 an...
  • Renae
    Like all of Murphy's work, this was thoroughly researched and documented, and incredibly interesting to boot. Granted, I'm one of those types that would've been paying to see the damn thing, being the total sucker for tourist schlock...
  • Betsy
    What are we to make of the proliferation of true-life hoax books for children filling our library and bookstore shelves this year? Whether it's the clever ruse of The Fairy Ring scandal or the sheer number of middle grade chapter books featuring jackalopes (I've seen five so far) there's something to be said about the natural human desire to believe in the impossible even in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary. Into this mix drops y...
  • Janis
    I love Murphy's historical nonfiction books and always scoop them up for my library. I was disappointed with this one, however. It felt rushed--not a lot of photos of The Cardiff Giant (even though Murphy saw it as a part of his research), and not many illustrations in general--or the ones in the book were sometimes superfluous (Joseph Smith being tarred & feathered). I appreciate that Murphy shared the story of a great American humbug, but I wis...
  • Rachel Grover
    Jim Murphy has done it again. Awesome narrative nonfiction tale of one of the greatest hoaxes in American history, and I didn't know anything about it! The end notes are great, as he describes his research process and has thorough resources in the bibliography for additional information. Looking forward to ordering this for my MS library!
  • Alyson
    Impressively done. See for details.
  • Samuel Valentino
    The book is more informative than engaging, but nonetheless it is very informative. A succinct but thorough history of the Cardiff Giant, and the players involved. What was most surprising to me is that the bulk of the action took place within a three-month span! I'll hold off giving details of it, since I don't want to post spoilers, but I had always assumed that events had unfolded over a much longer period of time.Seeing photos of the giant, i...
  • Richie Partington
    Richie’s Picks: THE GIANT AND HOW HE HUMBUGGED AMERICA by Jim Murphy, Scholastic Press, October 2012, 112p., ISBN: 978-0-439-69184-0"'A fortune was made with a bit of good-natured deception,' said Barnum."--from THE GREAT AND ONLY BARNUM by Candace Fleming (2009)“Step right up and don’t be shyBecause you will not believe your eyes”-- The Tubes, “She’s a Beauty”“Not only did the ten-thousand-copy first edition of The American Golia...
  • Jean
    *This review was based on a galley. Book will be released 10/1/2012.In 1869 in the farmland of Cardiff, New York, a rare and exciting discovery was unearthed from the property of William “Stub” Newell. While several men helped Newell dig a new well, they hit upon what they believed to be a large stone. Upon further investigation, the stone resembled an oversized human foot. With some more help, the men were able to unearth the entire body of ...
  • Brent Darling
    Interesting story, but needed more illustrations.
  • Eyehavenofilter
    When an upstate farmer unearths a 10 ft tall monolith of a man in 1869, all sense of normalcy and reason go right out the window.News of this "discovery" spreads like the plague, and as they say " the game is afoot".What exactly is this, thing? Is it real? Scientists descend on Cardiff like locusts, all viewing for a chance to document, examine and pontificate on their hypothesis.Imagine want this would be like today with social media? " A specta...
  • Barbara
    The always-reliable Jim Murphy chronicles one of the biggest hoaxes in American history, describing the discovery of the Cardiff Giant in 1869 on a farm near Cardiff, New York. Murphy is careful not to give away too much at the start of the story, allowing readers to ponder the possibility of the existence of a petrified giant 10 feet in length. As he allows scientists, newspapers, first-hand accounts, and the general public to weigh in on the is...
  • Jim Erekson
    Inspired by the Bernie Madoff scheme, Murphy decided to write something about hoaxes in general. The basic underpinning is that people believe what they really want to believe, and that a compelling narrative often beats out rational and empirical evidence. I enjoyed each phase in the Cardiff Giant's travels through the entertainment world, including erstwhile Mormon sensationalist. The fact that there was a general buzz in the country, a desire ...
  • Kate
    I wanted to like it since Jim Murphy's nonfiction books are almost always engaging and well researched. The Giant was well researched but the story didn't grab me. It started off well, but I had to make myself keep reading. I have a few quibbles with material included. It felt like some of the explanations of the times went on too long; for example,the explanation of the 15th amendment. On the other hand, an illustration on p. 23 shows tarring an...
  • Ms. Yingling
    It's hard for middle school students to understand how hard up for entertainment people were in the 1860s-- heck, they have trouble believing there were only four television channels forty years ago. But at the time, the discovery of a ten foot tall fossilized "man" in New York State was big news. Scientists and other experts were brought in to opine of the nature of the find, newspapers reported eagerly, and people came from all over to see the ...
  • Heidi
    Jim Murphy just has a way of writing a very readable book. He's careful to include background information and brief explanations of topics he refers to without disrupting the flow of the story. This particular story is both fascinating and mind-boggling. Not only did the men behind the hoax fool much of the public but they also fooled dozens of acclaimed scientists as well. Of course a good number of those scientists were not archaeologists or ex...
  • Phoebe
    This well-researched book about the Cardiff giant and the other hoaxes spawned in its wake is interesting, but may not hold readers' attention for 100 pages. Jim Murphy's usual careful and excellent writing does carry this crazy tale about a giant statue unearthed on a little upper New York State farm in 1869, that attracted 6 million visitors over the course of its heyday, before its true nature was revealed. Murphy takes pains to give young rea...
  • Kristen
    A petrified giant was unearthed in upstate New York in the 19th century and created an uproar all over the world about whether it was real or not. The biggest humbug of that time period, this giant was displayed for people to see and many people profited off the scheme. Within the book, lots of information is provided as to how the scam was pulled off along with the reaction of America to such an event.This book was well-written and with large en...
  • Nicole
    Scholastic, 2012Nonfiction112 pagesRecommended for grades 5-8I love a good hoax book! See my loving review of The Fairy Ring. Oh wait, bah! I read that before my blog. Shucks, I really love that hoax. In this splendid hoax we meet some men carrying out a dastardly plot to unearth and show off a petrified giant, found in Cardiff, New York in the late 1800s. The giant becomes the talk of the country, with visitors paying lots to glimpse the giant. ...
  • Emily
    This book has an awesome cover and made me want to read it. The event evoked some memory for me -something I had read in the past. It started off interestingly enough, but lost steam somewhere in the middle, I ended up skimming a lot of the ending. Because I didn't read it word for word, I may have missed a coupe of things that bothered me about the book. One of those things was the lack of explanation, etymology of the word humbug, which most yo...
  • Samantha
    The story of one of America's most famous hoaxes. The Cardiff Giant was believed to be a petrified man when he was unearthed on a farm in New York in 1869, but it was all a big scam. The scam was dreamed up by George Hull who was inspired to create a stone giant after a conversation with a preacher while on a business trip. The two men argued over the validity of the Bible and Hull's plan was to fool the preacher and others across the country who...
  • Tiffany
    When a huge stone man is found in Cardiff, New York in 1869, hundreds flock to see what is being called a "petrified man". But is it real, or a hoax? With a perfect storm of unqualified experts and a public wanting to believe in giants and myth, this hoax goes on for years, with innocent investors being left penniless. Like so many books before, Murphy takes a short history lesson and weaves it into something important and unique. Children today ...
  • Becky
    I really enjoyed the first half of this book. It tells the story of The Cardiff Giant, a 10 foot tall stone man that was dug up in the late 1800's near Cardiff, NY. For the first half of the book, the s Tory is told somewhat chronologically, beginning with digging the hole where the "giant" was found. Chapter six brings the find into question, but the question is not settled in the story, except that the last line of the chapter states that "The ...
  • April Helms
    Murphy relates the story of the Cardiff Giant, an elaborate hoax concocted in 1869, when a 10-foot statue of a man was buried in a farmer's field, then 'discovered.' The discovery and the stories that spread took on a life of their own, as people paid to see this petrified Goliath. Murphy also goes into other famous hoaxes. This is a great book, filled with fascinating information, comparisons and pictures. The only thing I would have liked to ha...
  • Jackie
    Quite a fascinating and well-researched tale about a grand hoax carried out by a few crafty men who wanted to get rich quick. They constructed and buried a 'giant' on a farm in New York and when the Cardiff Giant was 'discovered' it brought about a fevered frenzy all over the United States. Even esteemed scientists verified that it was a petrified giant of the fabled Onondaga Indian Tribe. The Giant and How He Humbugged America shows us that, onc...
  • Nancy
    My interest in this subject is very personal. My great-great uncle (pretty sure that's right) was Michael Foley, who quarried the granite for the Cardiff Giant. I have one of the original pamphlets that customers bought when viewing the Giant. The story has been part of family lore for a long time so I'm glad to see more people learning about it. I'm truly hoping someone will make a movie of this because it is a charming, wild tale that would tra...
  • Deborah
    Being from upstate New York, and having grown up only about an hour away from the small town of Cardiff, I had to read about this incredible stunt someone pulled and me not knowing about it.A "giant" was unearthed on tiny farm in Cardiff opening up months of speculation of what it was, who it was, how long had it been buried and what were they going to do about it. Doctors swore it was real, others thought not so. For the most part America was ba...
  • Kim
    Grades 5 - 8 A fascinating look at how George Hull spearheaded a huge hoax on Americans when a 10 foot 4 inch "petrified man" was dug up in 1869 at a New York farm. Jim Murphy includes abundant copies of newspaper articles, carnival flyers, and photographs as he takes readers on the journey from the "discovery" of this ancient man to the unraveling of the hoax. Give this to readers who are convinced that they don't like nonfiction-- the author's ...
  • Bethe
    Don't know why I always thought the Cardiff Giant was from England - this book set me straight. I don't remember if the author ever explains the term humbug as pulling a fast one on the public, as opposed to the more popular bah humbug reference. I enjoyed the author's note explaining the interesting way he went about researching the book. He mentioned a Ponzi scheme, which is the idea that came to my mind when I read about the list of investors....