Inspired by Riley Poole's book Templar Treasure, which serves as a central plot point in National Treasure 2: Book of Secrets, Aubrey Paris and Emily Black have transformed National Treasure Hunt into written form. National Treasure Hunt: One Step Short of Crazy is published by Tucker DS Press, an imprint of Fayetteville Mafia Press, and is available for order.
Much like the podcast, National Treasure Hunt: One Step Short of Crazy conducts an interdisciplinary examination rooted in the storylines of both films, diving deeper into the many historical, scientific, cultural, and ethical analyses previewed on the show. The result is a fascinating piece of "edutainment" media geared toward high school and college-aged history and liberal arts students, as well as National Treasure fans, pop culture enthusiasts, history buffs, and Nicolas Cage supporters. Read a complete summary of the book below.
“I’m going to steal the Declaration of Independence.” These eight treasonous words delivered with intense earnestness by Nicolas Cage would launch a pop culture phenomenon in National Treasure (2004) and its sequel, National Treasure 2: Book of Secrets (2007). Years after the films were box office hits, quotes and sentiments from the two-part franchise are frequently referenced in response to both the most joyous and most scathing moments in recent history. But even so, the films have been heavily criticized for purportedly “crazy” storylines, forcing National Treasure enthusiasts to defend their fandom against those who think it merely a guilty pleasure.
But what if the majority of National Treasure’s plot points were inspired by real figures and events, its heists drew upon actual techniques in science and technology, and production choices were made with the hope that viewers would better remember both triumphs and failures of history? In this book, franchise experts and hosts of the National Treasure Hunt podcast Aubrey Paris and Emily Black set the record straight, taking a scene-by-scene approach to prove that National Treasure, like protagonist Benjamin Franklin Gates, is not crazy, but rather one step short. Their analyses unearth lesser-known stories from history while considering the ethics of character decisions, assessing comparisons to similar film franchises, interpreting key deleted scenes, and revealing behind-the-scenes secrets from filming. The result is a more complete understanding of the franchise, one that might just turn National Treasure skeptics into begrudging admirers. In the end, don’t we all want to know what’s on page 47? (ISBN: 9781959748007)
While the Disney+ series continuation of the National Treasure films aired to little fanfare and was recently canceled, the affection many moviegoers have for the Nicolas Cage-starrers has not diminished one bit. This audience will have a blast reading One Step Short of Crazy, a pleasurable, obsessively detailed (in the best sense) look at the franchise. Paris and Black, both holders of PhDs, actually began their exploration with a podcast. This book followed, and along with it much to ponder, including background on the scripts and production of the films, the series’ connections to real (and imagined) history, and even a guide to locations and landmarks. The authors demonstrate why, in the eyes of fans, “the franchise remains so relevant and rewatchable to this day.”
~ Christopher Schobert, The Film Stage (6/26/2023)
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Reading, discussion, and signing
April 28, 2023, 3:15-4:15 PM
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June 10, 2023, 2:00-3:30 PM
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Lecture, signing, and National Treasure screening
July 1, 2023, 2:00 PM
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Discussion, activity, and signing
July 3, 2023, 7:00 PM