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Wrong! Deconstructing 5 Famous History Stories

Here are five stories we tell ourselves — five famous history stories that you have heard all your life — that aren't true. Not only are they not true, but historians have known they aren't true, said they aren't true, insisted they aren't true, and the stories don't change. We like them the way they are.

Then along comes CGP Grey. He is an essayist with his own YouTube channel and a curious talent for truth telling; he can take a charming lie and, with even more charm, rip it apart. It is very, very hard, as any teacher will tell you, to unlearn something that makes you comfortable and makes you feel smart, but Mr. Grey has the knack. He takes a pretty tale, unwraps it, deconstructs it and turns it into something even prettier — but this time, it's true.

So here are five historical misconceptions that will misconceive no more ...

Mr. Grey can't stop. He has produced a 10 Misconceptions Rundown of academic and science-ish fibs, another called 8 Animal Misconceptions, and one day, while shopping for towels ...

... he found a wall full of soft, downy lies. That is why Mr. Grey will always be busy. If you can't trust a fluffy towel to be fluffy — you can't trust anything.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Robert Krulwich works on radio, podcasts, video, the blogosphere. He has been called "the most inventive network reporter in television" by TV Guide.