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The Untold Story of Champ

The Untold Story of Champ: A Social History of America’s Loch Ness MonsterBartholomew, Robert E. (December 2012).

The Untold Story of Champ: A Social History of America’s Loch Ness Monster.

Albany, NY: Excelsior Books (an imprint of the State University of New York Press).

Over the years authors, reporters, researchers and local politicians have blurred the line between fact, fiction and speculation to the point where it is no longer recognizable. What is the likelihood, as some assert, that Champ is a zeuglodon or plesiosaur: creatures that have supposedly been extinct for millions of years? What are we to make of Liz von Muggenthalar’s ‘discovery’ of a mysterious creature in the lake that uses bio-sonar to get around? What is depicted in the celebrated 1977 photo snapped by Sandra Mansi? In this book I chronicle key sightings and events through the decades, and reveal the actions and personalities of the modern-day monster hunters; their egos, obsessions and behind-the-scenes squabbles. Champ has become a chameleon-like figure representing many things to the region’s inhabitants: local icon, environmental symbol, tourist draw card, and perhaps a new or long-thought extinct species. Ultimately, the history of Champ reveals more about us than it does about him.

"I really loved the book, and got some valuable lecture material out of it for my Vermont history course. Just fascinating."
- Dr. Paul Searls, Department of History, Lyndon State College

"Get ready for... [a] thought-provoking ride as Robert Bartholomew guides you through 400 years of facts, fantasy and controversy surrounding Champ.... Like any solid reporter, Bartholomew asks the tough questions. He draws you into the vortex of egos of the Champ researchers. He chides his media colleagues for sloppy reporting.... It's all in here, and more.
- Ronald Kermani, former senior investigative journalist, Albany Times-Union

"...a comprehensive history of a cultural fixture in the northeast. Robert Bartholomew explores the background and development of a media favorite and a scientific controversy. Both believers and skeptics can profit from the solid research and fluid storytelling in The Untold Story of Champ."
- Dr. Stephen R. Whalen, Department of History, Castleton State College

"The book provides a thorough exploration of the Champ tales told through the ages. Dr. Bartholomew assiduously weaves his way through the stories, myths, and legends that surround Champ."
- Mike Winslow, author of Lake Champlain: A Natural History and Staff Scientist

"Bartholomew's study provides a meticulously researched overview of the historical context behind popular fascination with the Lake Champlain monster. The book effectively traces the vicissitudes of the creature's fame, rising and falling in accordance with external factors often unrelated to the ongoing string of perennial sightings. Bartholomew makes the subject come alive by carefully documenting the bitter rivalries between competing Champ researchers and by filling in the background stories for numerous Champ witnesses and enthusiasts. He shows that the creature is not simply a media sideshow, but a concept that has touched real people's lives very deeply."
- Dr. Peter Dendle, Associate Professor of English, Penn State University at Mont Alto and coeditor of The Ashgate Research Companion to Monsters and the Monstrous

 "Best lake monster book of the year." 
- Loren Coleman, Director, International Cryptozoology Museum

"...a scientific detective story of the highest quality. ...This is a book that doesn't disappoint whether the reader is a skeptic, a true believer, or an open-minded explorer of the world's wonders and mysteries. I highly recommend this book." 
- Brad Steiger, Bestselling author                                                                                                                                                    

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